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Bellweather-Trial-scaledThe word bellwether can be traced back to the 13th century when shepherds hung bells around the necks of some of their sheep to designate them as leaders. Similarly, bellwether trials are designed to track and monitor the potential results of a large group of lawsuits. They are test lawsuits that use individual claims originating from a group of widely contested lawsuits filed against the same party. When hundreds or even thousands of lawsuits are filed against one party, these trials allow a few select cases to go to court to predict how the remaining pending claims will turn out at trial.

What Is Multidistrict Litigation?

In recent years, the number of medical injuries and pharmaceutical claims that have developed into multidistrict litigations has significantly increased. Multidistrict litigation, also known as MDL, is a special judicial proceeding designed to help federal courts better manage a large group of related lawsuits filed in various jurisdictions by different plaintiffs with similar legal issues and the same defendant. These proceedings are contingent on getting a majority approval from 7 district court judges, known as the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. Upon approval, the cases are temporarily transferred and consolidated at one or more district courts for pretrial coordination. 

Strict-Liability-scaledAlthough most personal injury lawsuits depend on proving negligence, there are certain cases where plaintiffs do not need to show that the defendant was negligent. Strict liability, also called absolute liability, is a legal doctrine that holds a person or entity responsible for a victim’s injuries, even if that party was not negligent or at fault. In cases involving strict liability, defendants can still be held accountable even if they exercised reasonable care. 

The most common types of personal injury lawsuits where strict liability may be applied include:    

  1. Product Liability: Designers, manufacturers, and wholesalers can be held strictly liable when their defective, faulty, or substandard product injures a consumer. For absolute liability to apply, the victim’s lawyer must establish that the product’s deficiency was the proximate cause of their injury. This type of claim also requires proof that when the accident occurred, the consumer was using the product as intended. In other words, if the victim misused the product, leading to injury, the defendant might not be held responsible. 

Evidence-Blog-scaledUnder New York law, victims carry the burden of proof in lawsuits. In other words, to hold the other party responsible for your damages, you must first prove that their negligence caused your injuries. This means that you will need to present evidence to support your claims. As a general rule, the more evidence your attorney has to support your claim, the better the result you can expect. However, collecting evidence can be overwhelming, especially if you need help knowing where to start. The first few hours and days after an accident are often the most significant regarding the assembly and preservation of proof. When evidence remains uncollected or preserved for too long, it can easily get lost, forgotten, or destroyed.

Types Of Evidence Used In Personal Injury Lawsuits 

The outcome of a case is highly contingent on the quality of your evidence. Inadequate evidence can dramatically decrease settlement offers or even lose the case altogether. Since insurance adjusters and jurors did not witness the accident, your attorney must use evidence to tell your side of the story. Jed Dietrich, Esq. recommends collecting the following evidence:

SUMMONS-scaledAfter being injured in an accident, knowing what to expect when pursuing your claim brings you peace of mind. Some of our most frequently asked questions are about the summons. At the beginning of a lawsuit, a summons and complaint are two legal documents served to all defendants. The summons informs the defendant of the plaintiff’s commencement of the legal action and demands that they answer the complaint. The complaint is a written document detailing the plaintiff’s reasons for pursuing the lawsuit. It states the plaintiff’s claims against the defendant and the damages they seek compensation for. 

Serving A Summons  

New York State law forbids any party to the legal action from serving the summons. The person who serves the summons must be at least 18 years old. Process servers are typically used to serve these legal documents. The three methods of delivering a summons are:

Car-Accidents-on-Ice-Blog-scaledWith an average of nearly 94 inches of snowfall per year, many Buffalonians consider driving through the snow to be a rite of passage. Unfortunately, driving anywhere in the winter can be extremely dangerous, especially during freezing conditions. When the temperature drops, ice often rapidly develops on our roads, highways, and parking lots. Since ice can make it difficult for a vehicle’s tires to maintain traction and significantly reduce friction, the rate and severity of car accidents drastically increase during winter. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in a recent year alone, victims of wintry condition crashes suffered 374 fatalities and roughly 25,000 injuries.

Who Is Responsible For Your Collision On Ice?

Even if ice played a role in your accident, the at-fault motorist could still be held accountable for your damages. However, determining liability for a collision on ice is more complex than you think. That is why it is crucial to seek guidance from a highly qualified personal injury lawyer.

Snow-and-Ice-SF-Blog-scaledCold weather conditions typically hit the Buffalo area in November and linger until late March. During this time, ice often accumulates in parking lots, building entrances, stairs, sidewalks, and other outdoor surfaces. Ice can cause highly slippery conditions, making fall-related accidents common during the brutal Western New York winters.

Icy Hot Spots

Unfortunately, it is often challenging to detect ice-related threats. For example, a homeowner might shovel a sidewalk full of snow only to uncover a patch of black ice. Since black ice is transparent, it remains disguised by the surface below it. Victims may encounter these hazardous icy conditions outside offices, malls, grocery stores, hospitals, apartment buildings, and private homes. Temperatures usually warm up during the day and melt the snow, and freezing nights cause melted snow to freeze and turn into ice. Ice tends to form very quickly, especially in shaded areas of buildings, parking garages, gutters, and trees, where rain and melting snow do not evaporate. 

Joint-and-Several-Liability-scaledPersonal injury accidents like car collisions often involve several parties. Whenever someone is partially to blame for a motor vehicle accident, they could be listed as a defendant and obligated to pay damages if found to be responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries. The rule of joint and several liability applies when there are multiple defendants. New York State’s joint and several liability law allows plaintiffs to hold defendants, individually or collectively, accountable for the total amount of their damages. In these cases, the plaintiff should consider how many defendants were involved, what percentage of fault can be allocated to each party, and each defendant’s automobile insurance policy coverage limits. Many drivers only carry New York’s minimum car insurance liability limits. While this may seem like enough coverage, the damages owed to victims in severe motor vehicle accidents often exceed these amounts.

Joint Liability Vs. Joint And Several Liability

Joint and joint and several liability legal principles allow victims to hold multiple defendants accountable for their actions. Joint liability differs from joint and several liability in that, in the first instance, the responsibility is spread equally among all of the defendants. In the latter, the responsibility shifts depending on the determined percentage of each defendant’s liability. A judge or a jury typically makes this determination. In New York State, defendants generally are held joint and severally responsible.

Request-Police-Report-scaledSuppose you were involved in a car crash and need to make an insurance claim or file a lawsuit. In that case, the Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s top rated attorneys recommend obtaining a copy of the corresponding police report, also referred to as a police accident report. You can do this by going to the responding officer’s precinct and asking for it in person. The police department should be located in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. However, you may be able to save yourself a trip by calling in advance to confirm. A copy of the police report will usually be provided for free. While it may be available immediately, sometimes it can take up to 30 days.   

You can also request a copy online if you cannot go in person. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) allows online requests for police reports. For electronically filed police reports, you should allow at least 14 days from the date of the accident. The DMV maintains accident reports for four years from the date of the incident. Although reports involving accidents where no one suffered injury or property damage exceeding $1,000 are not available online, you can obtain one by mailing in a Request for Copy of Accident Report (MV-198C).

What Will I Need To Retrieve My Police Report? 

ATV-BLOG-scaledNew York State is home to some of the best All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) parks and trails in the United States. Whether you are considering purchasing a four-wheeler or already own one, it is imperative to familiarize yourself with some of the relevant laws and safety precautions. Below, the Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s battle-tested ATV accident injury lawyers have gathered some vital information.

General Requirements For ATV Owners

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding all-terrain vehicles is whether New York law permits riding on the street. Owners must register their ATVs with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if it is driven anywhere within the state, including their personal property. ATV operation, except for the owner’s property, is forbidden without the minimum liability insurance coverage of $50,000/$100,000 for death, $25,000/$50,000 for injury, and $10,000 for property damage in any single crash.

police-giving-ticket-scaledUpon arriving at the scene of a car crash, the police will investigate to determine which driver is at fault. During this time, the officers typically interview the drivers involved and bystanders who witnessed the accident. Should the police conclude that a driver violated the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, they will issue a traffic ticket, also known as a citation. Consequently, the driver who received the ticket must go to traffic court. Suppose the other motorist suffered any damage, such as injuries, lost wages, or property damage. In that case, they might seek monetary compensation through a personal injury claim. Many car accident victims wonder whether the outcome of traffic court will impact their case against the ticketed driver.  

Common Traffic Laws Violated In Car Accidents

There are numerous reasons why the police may cite a motorist for actions that caused a collision. Prevalent examples include:

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