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FAQs

How you deal with a car accident from the start can have an impact on your ability to recover maximum compensation for your injuries and other losses.

The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, has assisted people involved in thousands of car accidents on Long Island and across New York City. Below are some of the frequently asked questions about car accidents and general answers to them.

Car Accident FAQs

I was hurt in a car accident and I think the other driver was at fault. What should I do?

One of the first things to do after a car accident is to report it to the police and then to your insurance company. Because New York is a no-fault insurance state, your insurance carrier is required to pay you for your losses no matter who caused the accident. In some cases you may also seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurer, particularly if the accident has resulted in permanent injuries, scarring and disfigurement, or the death of a loved one.

An experienced New York car accident lawyer can help you file such a legal claim. Even obtaining an appropriate settlement from your insurance company will be more likely if a car accident attorney represents you.

How can a lawyer help me after a car accident?

A lawyer experienced with traffic accidents and personal injury lawsuits in New York can help you identify and obtain all of the compensation you deserve for the injuries and other losses caused by the accident.

After suffering serious injuries in a car accident, you will likely face expensive medical bills and have a car to repair or replace. If you are away from work to recover, you will lose income. You will likely find that the insurance company wants to pay you less than you deserve.

An attorney can determine and document all of your losses and demonstrate to the insurance company the amount of money you deserve in a settlement. This includes direct losses identifiable from bills, and projections of future costs for ongoing medical needs and lost income from a reduced capacity to work for a living in cases of partial or complete disability. A lawyer can also seek out all sources of insurance and determine whether other parties may be liable for the accident, such as a bar that served an underage patron.

After a thorough investigation of your accident, a lawyer can file a personal injury lawsuit and negotiate with insurance companies for the settlement you deserve, or present a strong case on your behalf in court if that is necessary.

It seems like the insurance company is making a good offer, and I have bills now. Why shouldn’t I just take it?

In most cases, an insurance claim for a serious car accident is worth much more that an insurance company offers the accident victim. This is especially true of an initial offer from a car insurance company. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses. They have an incentive to pay out as little as possible.

Our advice is to at least meet with an experienced car accident attorney before you agree to anything an insurance company offers after a car crash.

One of our attorneys at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe can review the circumstances of your accident and any offers you have received, and discuss the options available to you. This is a free meeting for free legal advice with no strings attached.

In the meantime, don’t sign anything from any insurance company. Once you sign those papers, you may be giving up your rights.

What if the other driver in my car crash left the scene of the accident or does not have insurance?

After a car accident that involves an uninsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver, you may be able to seek compensation through your own car insurance. Even when dealing with “your” insurance company, the insurer is first looking out for its own bottom line. You may find it difficult to obtain a settlement for the full amount you deserve.

Instead of going it alone, a car accident lawyer from Cohen & Jaffe can negotiate with the insurer on your behalf to ensure you get a proper settlement.

The driver who hit my car was charged with drunk driving. Can I sue the bar where he was drinking before the accident?

Possibly. If the driver was under the legal drinking age of 21, New York law says anyone who sold the driver alcoholic beverages or helped the driver buy alcohol may be held liable for harm the driver causes that is linked to drinking. This is also true for drivers who are of legal age but were visibly impaired when served alcohol.

This is what’s known as a “dram shop” law.

What can kind of compensation could I obtain through a lawsuit in my car accident case?

People who have been injured by others’ negligence may be eligible for compensatory damages, which include money for:

  • Medical bills (past, current and future).
  • Property damage (to a vehicle, typically).
  • Lost wages.
  • Lost earning capacity and future lost income.
  • Pain and suffering.
  • Other losses.

A lawsuit may also seek “punitive damages” if the at-fault driver’s actions equate to gross negligence or reckless disregard for human life. Punitive damages are usually a multiple of the amount awarded as compensatory damages.

Will I have to go to court as part of a car accident lawsuit?

Most car accident claims are settled out of court through negotiations and don’t require the plaintiff to appear in any formal setting. It’s only when an insurance company refuses to provide an acceptable settlement that a case must go to court. Even then, the plaintiff may not need to testify.

The car accident attorneys of the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe work to negotiate fair settlements for our clients so that they can obtain the compensation they need as quickly and with as little burden on them as possible. When an insurance company refuses to offer a reasonable settlement, we take all measures to prepare our clients to win in court, standing up for them each step of the way.

How can I afford a lawyer to handle my car accident lawsuit?

You can afford a Cohen & Jaffe lawyer because you pay no legal fees up front for our services. We handle car accidents on a contingency fee basis, which means our fees depend on our – and your – success. You don’t pay us until we obtain money for you. Then our legal fee will be a previously agreed-upon percentage of the settlement or court award you have won.

All of our work for you begins with a legal consultation about your case that we provide at no charge whatsoever and with no obligation. We’re ready to get started as soon as you are.

Call us now or fill out our online contact form for a free claim review.

My car accident was some time ago, but I have only recently come to the point that I cannot pay my medical bills. Is it too late for you to help me?

New York has a statute of limitations on personal injury lawsuits, which means there is a time limit within which you may bring a lawsuit. There are different deadlines for various types of lawsuits.

In most car accident cases, you have three years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.

The statute of limitations is another reason why it is wise to contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as you can after a car crash in New York. Personal injury lawsuits are complicated and can take a long time to develop. It is best to start as soon as possible.

The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP has assisted individuals with employment law matters, and can help with discrimination, wrongful termination and other workplace matters.  Below are some general answers to common questions about employment law.

Employment Law FAQs

What is workplace discrimination?

Discrimination in the workplace is defined by federal, state, and sometimes local laws. Generally speaking, it is unlawful for employers to make decisions about hiring, firing, job assignments, or job promotions based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, pregnancy or sexual orientation.

Which laws apply to your particular situation could depend on various factors such as who your employer is, where you work, and what type of work you do.

What constitutes a wrongful termination?

If you are terminated from your job, and the employer’s decision to terminate you was based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, genetics, military status or domestic violence victim status, the termination may be unlawful.

It is also unlawful to fire a worker:

  • In violation of a valid contract.
  • Because a worker filed a workers’ compensation claim.
  • If the worker participated in a complaint under a civil rights law.
  • To avoid paying bonuses, benefits or other compensation that the worker has already earned.
  • To intimidate other employees.

What are some examples of sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment in the workplace may involve a wide range of unwanted behavior, from comments or advances to actual sexual assault or abuse. In addition to the target of the comments, advances or abuse, the harassment may also affect others who were not the intended targets of such behaviors.

Some common examples of sexual harassment in the workplace include:

  • Displaying inappropriate sexual images.
  • Telling lewd jokes.
  • Sending sexually suggestive notes, emails or letters.
  • Sharing pornographic videos with co-workers.
  • Making sexual comments about someone’s appearance or clothing.
  • Asking sexual questions.
  • Making comments about someone’s sexual orientation.
  • Staring in sexually suggestive manner or whistling at someone.

The actor’s intent is not the issue as to whether the behavior is deemed to be sexual harassment. The law imposes a “reasonable person” standard, which means if an ordinary reasonable, prudent person in a like or similar circumstance would find the behavior offensive, then it is sexual harassment.

I’m afraid of filing a complaint for fear of losing my job, or being retaliated against at work. If I quit, can I collect unemployment?

You may very well be able to collect unemployment compensation if you voluntarily quit your job due to being a victim of sexual harassment. The law provides for those who must quit their jobs for “good cause” to collect unemployment benefits.

The best course of action to take would be to consult with a New York employment law attorney first, so that you can have some peace of mind knowing that you can leave your job and collect unemployment benefits while the sexual harassment case is pursued on your behalf.

If you believe that you are being sexually harassed by a co-worker or employer at work, or even after work hours, please contact the law offices of Cohen & Jaffe LLP today for a free consultation.

What should I do if my employer has violated the FLSA?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects workers from various types of unfair treatment by employers related to minimum wages, overtime pay, recordkeeping, child labor, family leave and medical leave, protections for migrant workers, guest workers, construction contracts and other similar work-related issues. If your employer has failed to pay you as promised, fails to pay you extra wages for overtime, or designates you as an independent contractor when you are actually an employee, you may have the right to file a claim. Your first step is to connect with an attorney who can review your situation and advise you about how to pursue the money you are owed. In many cases, your attorney fees are paid upon winning the case, and it is well worth your while to get professional counsel to assist you.

I reported my employer for illegal activities and am afraid that I will face repercussions. What are whistleblower protections?

Employers are prohibited from intimidating, threatening, blacklisting, firing or discriminating against any person who has acted as a whistleblower. You could have your job or pay reinstated, back wages paid and other legal remedies if you are facing retaliation for having reported your employer’s illegal activities.

As someone with a disability, am I legally protected in the workplace?

The FLSA authorizes employers who have gained the correct legal certification to pay special minimum wages to disabled workers. Workers with disabilities are also protected from discrimination by the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Based on the situation, there are various legal remedies that may be employed if you are a victim of discrimination, or have concerns about wages being paid at the correct level as determined by law.

How can a lawyer help me with my employment law claim?

The right attorney can make the difference between the success and failure of your claim. Every case is unique, and there are a number of laws and agencies that may be involved in sorting out your situation and getting justice. Some employment law matters will be resolved in civil court, specifically discrimination claims. These are cases in which an employee has suffered some form of discrimination that is prohibited, including discrimination based on religion, country of origin, sexual orientation, gender, age, or for being pregnant. Other cases may involve wage and hour claims. These matters are resolved through the U.S. Wage and Hour Division, a section of the U.S. Department of Labor. It is important that your rights are fully protected. A Long Island employment lawyer who is familiar with state and federal laws and agencies can take the right legal actions to help you pursue the maximum in compensation or other types of relief based upon the facts in your case.

What should I do if my employer retaliates against me?

Employers are specifically prohibited from retaliating against employees who have reported wrongdoing or illegal actions (whistleblowers), or have reported some type of discrimination to a manager, supervisor or owner. Unfortunately, some employers choose to retaliate by making up a reason to fire the employee who has made a complaint, reduce working hours or fail to give an expected raise or bonus as a “punishment.” These acts are all illegal, and employees who suffer this type of activity may have the right to seek justice and compensation. Your employee status may be restored, including your seniority, any lost wages, damages and your attorney fees could all be part of what is awarded to you.

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The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP has assisted individuals with medical malpractice cases, and can help with a variety of related matters.  Below are some general answers to common questions about medical malpractice.

Medical Malpractice FAQs

I signed a consent form. Can I still sue for malpractice?

Yes, most likely. Commonly used consent-to-treatment forms are generally used to memorialize the fact that you are consenting to treatment, not the physician’s malpractice. If a form for consent to treatment contains a clause barring a lawsuit for medical malpractice, it would be unenforceable as being against public policy. You can still bring suit against those who have committed malpractice even if you signed a consent form for treatment or the release of information.

What are the most common medical malpractice claims?

Research has found that the most common medical malpractice claims are for a missed diagnosis of cancer, heart attack, appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy and bone fractures. After missed diagnosis errors, the next most common claims for medical malpractice involve drug or medication errors. However, there are many, many other types of malpractice that may give rise to a valid claim for compensation.

When must I file suit for malpractice?

There is no clear-cut answer to this often asked question. In New York, the rule of thumb is that you must bring an action for medical malpractice within thirty months (2 ½ years) from the date the suspected malpractice occurred, or from the end of some continuous treatment that was delivered to you. There are other circumstances, such as childhood injury from malpractice, which allows minors to sue three years past the date they become 18 years of age, but the action cannot begin more than 10 years after the date of malpractice or the last day of treatment being rendered.

The best advice is to speak with a qualified medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to avoid being time-barred.

How can I tell if I should sue for malpractice?

If you believe you have been injured in some way by the negligence of a doctor or other medical provider, you should immediately seek the legal advice of an experienced, skilled medical malpractice attorney like those at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe.

In some cases, a poor result from a medical procedure is notmalpractice. But if you did have a poor result or have suffered from some new injury as a result of a medical treatment or procedure, it is certainly a good idea to have your case reviewed by a lawyer who practices in the field of medical malpractice to determine if you may have a valid claim.

As there are time limits during which you can legally file suit for malpractice, the sooner your case is reviewed by a skilled lawyer with extensive experience in the field, the sooner you can preserve your rights if you do have a claim.

Why should I file a medical malpractice lawsuit?

If you or a loved one has been the victim of medical malpractice, filing suit is extremely important for several reasons.

First, you may have significant costs from your injury that may last a lifetime. A successful malpractice claim can result in a significant sum of financial compensation to help pay for the treatment and corrective surgeries that you may need as a result of the malpractice, as well as lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Second, you may never know whether you have a claim unless you seek the opinion of experts who can determine whether the actions of the doctors, anesthesiologists, hospital or nurses constituted malpractice.

Lastly, your claim may bring to light similar instances of malpractice or wrongdoing that could benefit others in the future.

For more information on medical malpractice claims, please contact us at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP. Our legal services begin with a consultation about your case that we provide at no charge whatsoever and with no strings attached. If we determine that we can help you, you still will have no obligation to retain us for any further work.

The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, has helped families from Nassau County and elsewhere in the New York City area obtain compensation for birth injuries that have been caused by medical malpractice. Below are some general answers to frequently asked questions about birth injuries.

Birth Injury FAQs

What are some common birth injuries?

Common birth injuries include:

  • Cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affect a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability among children.
  • Brachial plexus injury (Erb’s palsy, Klumpke’s palsy), which is caused by trauma to a group of nerves in the shoulder. It may result in loss of function in the shoulders, arms, hands and fingers.
  • Profound brain injury.
  • Compromised function of the lungs, vision or other organs and systems.
  • Stillbirth or neonatal death.

Who can be held responsible for my child’s birth injury?

If a birth injury has been caused by an error on the part of a medical professional, the parents may be entitled to compensation on behalf of their child. Financial compensation can help the family with expensive, potentially continual medical care that the injured child may require.

Attending obstetricians, obstetric nurses, technicians or other medical personnel may be liable for the losses your child and you face due to your child’s medical problems, physical and cognitive disabilities or other lasting harm. In some cases, the hospital or medical center where your child was born may be held liable.

A medical malpractice lawsuit can seek money to assist you with the costs associated with your child’s injury. You may also be entitled to damages for your mental anguish as parents. Your child may be entitled to future damages based on the life he or she should have had but will not.

We just recently received a cerebral palsy diagnosis for our toddler. Is it too late to file a birth injury lawsuit?

It is probably not too late for you to pursue a legal claim. New York has a statute of limitations on medical malpractice lawsuits, which means there is a deadline for filing a lawsuit over a birth injury.

Most medical malpractice claims must be filed within 30 months of the date of the act resulting in the injury. However, the discovery rule permits some malpractice suits to be filed within a certain period of time after the injury is discovered, or reasonably should have been discovered.

Cerebral palsy is commonly diagnosed sometime after a child’s birth, such as when the child experiences delays in reaching motor skills milestones such as pushing up on arms, sitting up alone or crawling.

Birth injury lawsuits are complicated and can take a long time to develop. This and the statute of limitations are good reasons to contact a medical malpractice attorney experienced in New York as soon as you suspect your child has suffered a birth injury.

What can kind of compensation can we expect through a birth injury lawsuit?

Victims of birth injuries caused by medical malpractice may be eligible for compensatory damages. This could include money to help pay for:

  • Medical bills (past, current and future), such as those required for surgery, physical therapy, medical equipment and medications.
  • Nursing care or specialized day care.
  • Private tutoring.
  • Other accommodations.

Your child may also be eligible for the eventual cost of lost wages, lost earning capacity and future lost income, as well as for pain and suffering.

You may also be compensated for the lost parent-child relationship if your child’s injury has caused a significant mental disability. A malpractice lawsuit could also seek punitive damages if actions by the liable parties equate to gross negligence or reckless disregard for human life.

How can we afford a lawyer to pursue a birth injury lawsuit?

Your family can afford a Cohen & Jaffe medical malpractice attorney because you will not pay us for our legal services unless and until we obtain compensation for you. We provide legal services on a contingency fee basis, which means our success in your case determines our fees.

The legal fees you pay will be based on an agreed-upon percentage of any settlement or court award we obtain for you.

Our legal services begin with a free consultation about your case. If we determine that we can help, you still will have no obligation to retain us for any further work and you owe us nothing.

We’re ready to have one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys look at your case as soon as you are.

For a free claim evaluation and consultation, call us now or fill out our online contact form. We will respond promptly. We can arrange evening and weekend appointments, and we can come to you.

Will we have to go to court as part of a birth injury lawsuit?

Most medical malpractice claims are settled out of court through negotiations. It’s only when insurers refuse to provide an appropriate settlement that a case must go to court.

The medical malpractice attorneys at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe thoroughly prepare cases before we enter into negotiations with the liable parties. Each case is different, so we cannot guarantee how your case will progress, but if we cannot negotiate a settlement, we will fully prepare you and your case if we have to go to court.

How do birth injuries typically happen?

Many birth injuries are caused by obstetrical trauma during vaginal delivery conducted with instruments. In plain language, this occurs when a baby assumes an unnatural position prior to birth and the doctor (obstetrician) uses forceps, suction or other medical instruments with excessive force during delivery of the infant. This can cause trauma such as a broken collarbone, head injury, shoulder injury (brachial plexus injury), bruising or lacerations.

Oxygen deprivation is another major cause of birth injuries. This can result in brain damage, including mental retardation or cerebral palsy. Some common causes of oxygen deprivation include:

  • Compression or twisting that blocks the umbilical cord.
  • The umbilical cord becoming wrapped around the baby’s neck.
  • Leaving the baby in the birth canal too long,
  • Failure to recognize that the baby is in distress and perform a Caesarean section.

The baby’s oxygen level is one of many factors that should be constantly monitored during labor and birth. Failure to recognize a low oxygen level and take appropriate action could amount to medical malpractice if the baby suffers harm.

The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP has assisted individuals with cruise ship negligence cases, and can help with a variety of related matters.  Below are some general answers to common questions about cruise ship negligence and accidents.

Cruise Ship Accident FAQs

How common are accidents on cruise ships?

No one knows for sure. Cruise lines have little incentive to report accidents that mar the public picture of trouble-free fun and relaxation on a fantasy vacation. Even federal law adopted to compel cruise ship owners to report accidents has had little effect.

The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 requires cruise lines to report major crimes and accidents that occur onboard their ships, including:

  • Homicide.
  • Suspicious death.
  • Missing U.S. national.
  • Kidnapping.
  • Assault with serious bodily injury.
  • Setting fire to (arson) or tampering with the vessel.
  • Theft of money or property in excess of $10,000.
  • Rape and certain other sexual offenses.

A federal government report said in January 2014 that the 2010 law has resulted in less than a third of alleged offenses being made public. Reports that were made had been delayed by months or years, the General Accounting Office said. These are major injuries; cruise lines have no obligation to report less-serious accidents.

This reporting failure prevents passengers from making informed decisions prior to booking cruise vacations, the GAO said, according to NBC News.

One interesting website by a sociology professor from Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada is Cruise Junkie. The site documents reports of “Events at Sea” on an almost daily basis, including running aground, capsizing, “sanitation” problems, sexual assault, fire and more.

How can I hold the cruise company I traveled with responsible for my accident while aboard the ship?

If you can show that your accident was caused by negligence on the part of the cruise ship’s crew, the cruise line company, the ship’s builder or some other responsible party, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injury and losses connected to it.

Employees of a cruise line have a responsibility to ensure the reasonable safety of every passenger aboard the ship. If a passenger is injured in an accident or becomes seriously ill, the injured parties have the right to seek fair compensation for the harm they have suffered if their illness or injury should have been prevented.

Many accidents would be seen on a cruise ship legally the same as they were on land. If a passenger is injured in a slip-and-fall accident because a spill at the buffet line was not cleaned up or marked with warning signs in a timely manner, this may be a matter of crew member negligence. If a passenger slipped and fell on a stairway that was made of slippery material, like stone or glass, the cruise line may be held liable for the negligent design of the ship. A sexual assault onboard a ship that occurred in part because a cabin door did not lock properly may be actionable under a claim of negligent security.

In major accidents, like a grounding, sinking or fire that led to injuries, or a widespread illness, the ship’s policies and procedures and whether they were followed would come into question. For instance, the ship should have procedures for quarantining passengers who report symptoms of certain illnesses. You may be able to seek compensation if the crew’s negligence led to a catastrophic accident or ship-wide sickness.

An experienced cruise line negligence attorney can investigate your accident or injury and determine whether you had a viable claim.

I was hurt in an accident on a cruise ship while overseas, but the cruise started in New York. Will the location of the ship when I was hurt affect my potential claim?

Yes. The location of a ship when an accident occurs is one of the main complicating factors among cruise ship accidents that lead to injury. Cruise ships travel under a variety of laws, including international maritime law, U.S. law, laws that apply where the ship is located and laws of the country where the ship is registered. Cruise line operators count on this jumble of law to hinder passengers’ legal claims.

Individual ships fly the flag of the country where they are registered, and, in general, the laws of that country apply aboard that ship. This is sometimes known as adopting a “flag of convenience.” Meanwhile, passengers are protected by international maritime law, which makes a cruise line liable for injuries to passengers, and by additional laws that apply to ships that leave U.S. ports.

Part of the problem is that foreign countries may not provide protections that U.S. law would provide to a passenger who has been injured in an accident or assault. In most cases, it is unlikely that an injured passenger understands even the basics of a foreign country’s law. At the time of their injury, they are at the mercy of local officials and the ship’s crew. Afterward, they find themselves trying to get answers from an international conglomerate that owns the ship.

But, if you contact a Cohen & Jaffe cruise ship negligence lawyer, our knowledgeable attorneys can untangle the web of laws that apply to your case. If negligence on the part of the ship’s crew or the cruise line company contributed to your injuries and loss, we’ll help you pursue a claim.

I understand that it is easy to become ill on a cruise ship and find that treatment is not available. Is this truly a concern?

Yes, illness can spread rapidly on the tight confines of a ship at sea. Cruise ships have infirmaries with medical staff, but the extent of the medical crew’s knowledge and abilities can vary. You may be days at sea with little help.

A cruise ship is a newly formed community of people who play, eat and live side by side. Any kind of illness can be brought aboard by someone who does not realize they are sick or who simply is not willing to give up on their vacation, regardless of the implications for others.

In addition, cruise ships are huge food-service operations with round-the-clock food and drink preparation and service. Negligent sanitation practices and contaminated food can lead to gastrointestinal illnesses, like norovirus, food poisoning (salmonella), dysentery and other food-borne illnesses. Here’s a CNN report about an incident that left 66 passengers and 17 crew members sick on a cruise in 2014.

Because of close quarters as well as the recirculated air below deck on a ship, illness can spread rapidly once it starts. Even a properly staffed infirmary can be quickly overwhelmed. At a foreign port, medical care options and quality may not meet the standards you are used to at home.

You may be able to obtain compensation if you suffered a debilitating illness that was linked to negligence on the part of the ship’s crew or the cruise line itself. A Cohen & Jaffe cruise ship negligence attorney from New York can advise you about a potential claim.

I was injured in an accident while on a cruise last season. How long do I have to file a claim after a cruise ship accident?

Your question refers to the “statute of limitations,” or the legal deadline for making a claim for damages caused by negligence on the part of the cruise line or its employees. The statute of limitations for legal action after a cruise ship accident is likely to be shorter than for other personal injury lawsuits in New York.

In most cases, the fine print on your cruise ticket includes language that requires you to notify the cruise line within a certain amount of time about any injury that occurs aboard the ship or in port during the cruise. Most cruise lines set this deadline at within six months of the accident.

This information on your ticket serves as a binding contract, which you agreed to at the time of purchase. Your ticket may also dictate which U.S. state a lawsuit would have to be filed in, which may affect the time you have to file a lawsuit.

If you were seriously injured during a cruise, it’s likely you reported it to a crew member or to the infirmary. But you should act quickly to obtain legal assistance if you intend to pursue a claim for compensation. In addition to time that has already passed, it will take some time to investigate your accident and develop and file a lawsuit.

At Cohen & Jaffe, we can review your case to determine the legal options available to you to pursue a claim before the statute of limitations applies. Meanwhile, if you have reported your injury to the cruise line, you may receive a settlement offer. We suggest you contact us to obtain our counsel to review the offer before accepting it. It is likely to be less than you deserve.

What can I expect to pay a lawyer to pursue a cruise line negligence lawsuit?

A cruise line negligence lawyer at Cohen & Jaffe will ask for a percentage of the overall settlement or court award obtained in a cruise ship accident lawsuit. But you will pay no money upfront for our services, and if we cannot obtain money for you, you will pay nothing.

Cohen & Jaffe provides legal services on a contingency-fee basis. This means our fees depend upon us succeeding for you. If you retain our services, we will agree that we keep a set percentage of the settlement or court award obtained in the case. We will also seek reimbursement for certain expenses we pay up front to process and develop your lawsuit.

You will pay nothing out of pocket to seek justice with the assistance of Cohen & Jaffe. We will begin by providing an initial legal consultation about your case at no charge whatsoever. After that meeting, you will have no obligation to retain us for any further work.

We’re ready to get started as soon as you are. Contact us now online or phone us at 866-895-0420 for a free claim review.

The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP has assisted individuals with elevator and escalator accident cases.  Below are some general answers to common questions about these types of accidents.

Elevator and Escalator Accident FAQs

What legal options do I have if I get hurt on an elevator or escalator that malfunctions?

The owner of the building where you were hurt as well as the company that maintains the elevator or escalator you were on when you had your accident may be responsible for your injuries and other losses. You may be able to hold them liable through a personal injury claim under premises liability law.

It may be that the escalator or elevator was faulty from the start, either in its design or the way it was assembled and installed. You may be able to hold the manufacturer accountable in such a case through a product liability claim.

Under New York law, building owners have a legal duty to ensure their premises are reasonably safe for visitors or to warn of existing hazards. This includes maintaining equipment such as elevators and escalators on a routine basis or in a timely manner if an unexpected failure occurs. If there is a problem that makes an elevator or escalator unsafe, the property owner should shut it down and post a warning or “out of order” sign.

Usually an elevator or escalator is maintained by an outside company rather than building maintenance personnel. Whether such a company has liability for the failure of an elevator or escalator will depend on the relationship between the company and the building’s operations. If the contractor is exclusively responsible for maintenance and repair of the elevator or escalator, it can probably be held responsible for an operational failure. But, if the contractor can show that a building crew or another company worked on the device in question, the contractor will likely argue that it is not responsible for the malfunction.

Through a personal injury lawsuit, you could obtain damages (compensation) for medical expenses connected to your accident, lost income due to your injuries and other monetary losses, as well as for your pain and suffering. But, you will need an experienced premises liability lawyer to investigate your accident to determine potential liabilities and pursue a lawsuit on your behalf.

How can I be hurt on an elevator?

People are frequently hurt in elevators when a malfunction causes the elevator or parts of the elevator mechanism to move, stop or fall unexpectedly or abruptly. An elevator is likely to malfunction because of incomplete maintenance or repairs, or because of inspections by unqualified or negligent personnel.

One organization, Consumer Watch, says among the defects or malfunctions that can occur on an elevator are:

  • Unbalanced leveling and the failure of the elevator to line up with the floor, which can lead to tripping and falling.
  • Pulley system malfunction, or a mechanical breakdown or defect causing an elevator to drop rapidly within the shaft.
  • Open shaft, or the risk of fall due to faulty doors or other failures to protect passengers from entering an open shaft.
  • Elevator control malfunction due to faulty wiring, or a risk of electrocution.
  • Entrapment due to wiring malfunction, or the heat from a fire or water from emergency sprinklers or hose.

Another common situation is elevator door malfunctions, in which doors close on a person and cause a crushing injury to a limb or head, or close and trap clothing or a limb and cause a tearing injury as the elevator moves.

Elevators should not malfunction in a manner that causes injury. If you have been injured on an elevator in New York because of a problem with how the elevator operated, you should discuss our injury with one of our premises liability lawyers. You may be able to obtain compensation for losses associated with your injury.

How can I be hurt on an escalator?

Injuries sustained on an escalator usually occur in falls or from entanglement in some portion of the escalator. Escalator accidents are often made worse because the escalator is steep, which exacerbates a fall, and because it continues to move and the stair treads are hard surfaces.

Consumer Watch organization lists typical escalator malfunctions as:

  • Slip-and-fall accidents, particularly with elderly passengers.
  • Finger entrapment, particularly with children, if the handrail entry at the balustrade has an opening too large.
  • Comb plate entrapment. The comb plate is the piece between the stationary floor plate and moving steps.
  • Between-step entrapment.
  • Personal effects such as hair, clothing, shoes or shoelaces becoming lodged in the escalator.
  • Abruptly stopping, starting or shifting.

Entrapment by components of an escalator can cause injuries that range from cuts and bruises to dislocations, fractures and amputations. A slip-and-fall accident on an escalator can result in a traumatic brain injury (TBI) if the fall victim hits his or her head, broken bones – such as a hip fracture in an elderly fall victim ­­– or other injuries, such as cuts, bruises, sprains and strains.

Escalators should be maintained so that they do not malfunction in a manner that causes injury. If you have been injured on an escalator in New York, you may be able to obtain compensation for medical expenses and other losses associated with your injury. If you were hurt because of a problem with how the escalator operated, you should discuss your injury with one of our premises liability attorneys.

I was badly injured in a fall on an escalator, but I had just had a couple of glasses of wine with dinner. My friend says I cannot file a claim because I was drinking. Can you help me?

It is quite likely that lawyers for the defendants in a claim over your escalator accident would argue that your alcohol consumption caused or contributed to your injury. In New York, personal injury law considers “comparative” negligence, which means your role in the accident will be considered in determining how much compensation you are due. But you should talk to an attorney before giving up on a claim.

There are several questions that would have to be answered in regard to a claim for your escalator accident.

First, did an identifiable malfunction or defect in the escalator’s operation cause your accident? A sudden stoppage might be documented by security camera video, or an unsafe gap between the moving steps and the escalator sides would be measurable if we could get to it before repairs were made.

Secondly, the defense would have to argue the effect of your alcohol consumption. Drinks you bought with a restaurant meal could be documented through receipts, but without a blood-alcohol content (BAC) test of some sort, there would be no reliable measure of intoxication. The fact that you ate a meal would weigh in your favor, since food slows alcohol absorption. The time between when you finished your drinks and when you were on the escalator would also be a factor in arguing your potential intoxication.

In general, if a jury determined that your actions – drinking – contributed to your accident, it would then have to decide what percentage of the blame you shared, and your compensation would be reduced accordingly. If you were assigned 20 percent of the comparative negligence, for example, you would be entitled to $8,000 of a $10,000 award. If you were assigned 51 percent of the blame, you could receive no award.

Remember, an initial consultation with a Cohen & Jaffe premises liability lawyer is always free. Contact us today to set up a meeting to review your accident and begin the work to answer the questions about pursuing a claim for you.

What kind of compensation could I obtain in a personal injury lawsuit after an elevator or escalator accident?

Each case is different, but you may be able to obtain compensation for expenses such as medical bills, replacing damaged property (clothing and jewelry) and for lost income, as well as for pain and suffering. It is not possible to say how much you could obtain, but our goal in every case is to pursue compensation from all liable parties to ensure your financial recovery from your accident.

In general the compensation sought in a personal injury lawsuit would include but not necessarily be limited to:

  • Medical expenses, including costs from emergency care, hospitalization, primary and follow-up treatment, rehabilitation therapy, medication, assistive devices, etc.
  • Lost wages from missed work or missed employment opportunity since your accident and in the future in cases of disability.
  • Property damage, such as for clothing, shoes, jewelry, eyeglasses, etc., damaged or destroyed in the accident.
  • Pain and suffering, including physical and emotional or psychological pain.
  • Physical impairment, such as from loss of a finger, hand, toes or foot, or paralysis caused by the accident.
  • Loss of relations with a spouse.

We would work to calculate all of your compensable losses, with an emphasis on analyzing your medical records to determine the extent of your injuries and your expected recovery. We work with medical consultants and, in some cases, life-care planning experts to project long-term needs of disabled clients.

Read more about how compensation in a legal claim is related the type of injury suffered.

What should I do to start the process of considering a claim in my elevator or escalator accident?

If you have not contacted an attorney, we suggest contacting one with experience in New York elevator or escalator cases right away. There are several steps to take and actions to avoid to protect your rights after a serious elevator or escalator accident. A Cohen & Jaffe lawyer would be happy to help you.

In addition to setting up a free initial legal consultation about our case, you can help yourself by:

  • Making a record of the accident. If you have found this page right after your accident, try to document the accident scene by taking photos with your phone or another device. Photograph any visible problems with the elevator or escalator. Take pictures of your injuries and any torn or damaged clothing and accessories. Save any damaged clothing, jewelry, shoes, etc., as they are. As soon as you can after your accident, write down what happened while your memory is fresh.
  • Reporting your accident. Tell the building’s management about your accident and say you want to file a report. Get a copy of the report. Be sure to tell the truth, but do not say anything to blame yourself.
  • Seeing a doctor. You need to have your injuries examined and treated by a doctor for the sake of your well-being and to document the fact that you have been injured. Follow your doctor’s orders for additional treatment, rest, medication, etc. Save all receipts for medical expenses or any other expense connected to your injury.
  • Being wary of quick offers. You may hear from lawyers or insurers representing the owners of the building where you were hurt, or the company responsible for the elevator or escalator. They may offer you a settlement. It is probably less than you deserve. We suggest that you decline such an offer unless an attorney has reviewed it and advised that it be accepted. Be careful to not make statements that cast blame on yourself, and do not sign anything – you could be signing away your rights.

Once you contact Cohen & Jaffe, we can advise you about a potential claim and you can refer any questions you receive to “your attorney.” Call Cohen & Jaffe at 866-895-0420 for a free consultation, or fill out our online form and we will respond immediately. If you are injured, we can come to you.

Contact us today for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.