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Suppose you have filed a civil lawsuit against a negligent person, business, or entity that caused you to suffer an injury. In that case, their defense attorney will almost certainly request to take your deposition. Proper preparation before a deposition can make an enormous difference in the resolution of your personal injury case. In this blog post, the highly experienced attorneys of the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. provide essential tips to help you get ready for your deposition effectively.

What is a Deposition?

Discovery provides each party with an excellent opportunity to examine all of the opposing side’s legal claims and defenses. A deposition is one of the three primary forms of discovery where both the plaintiff and defense lawyers can question all pertinent witnesses about the case. The deponent’s answers are provided under oath and recorded by an official court reporter. This way, both sides can obtain the official accounts of the other party’s versions of events.

You may have been stopped at a red light during your commute home from work. As you wait for the light to change, another driver rear-ends your car. Although your bumper is barely scratched and the airbags failed to deploy, your neck feels sore. Several days later, you start feeling a throbbing pain running down your entire body. Unfortunately, all too often, severe injuries result from fender benders and other minor accidents.

The Body Is Highly Susceptible to Injury

Although Insurance Companies often try to argue that low-impact collisions cannot cause serious physical injuries, the spine consists of several highly delicate sections. During even low-impact collisions, the victim’s body may be subjected to violent forces, such as rotation, acceleration, and deceleration. Whiplash is known to happen at speeds as slow as five mph and is capable of causing chronic issues, such as arthritis and headaches. An abrupt jolt from an unexpected brunt or stop can overextend the ligaments, tendons, and muscles that form the cervical vertebrae. Furthermore, herniated discs are known to cause acute pain and may require surgery.

On December 11, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Provide Accurate Information Directly (PAID) Act. The Act was designed to eliminate bureaucratic constraints and decades-old regulations that frequently resulted in unwarranted lawsuits and great confusion regarding the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) statute.

The PAID Act Provides Access to Data Previously Overlooked

The Medicare Advantage and Part D (the Plans) are not required to pay for health claims if other parties are available to remunerate or are reasonably expected to pay them. When Medicare pays for a claim, it must submit a request for the recovery to the primary plan believed to be responsible for payment before taking any further measures, such as litigation. While insurers may reach out to the Plans, they are not under any new legal obligations to coordinate benefits or get in touch with the Plans.

The Dietrich Law Firm P.C.’s compassionate team would like to take a moment to remember all of those who have lost their lives during the pandemic. Our hearts go out to those families who lost loved ones after being exposed to COVID-19 in nursing homes. In the pandemic’s early days, Governor Cuomo’s directive placed residents in substantial danger by admitting COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals into long-term care facilities. The mandate prohibited nursing homes from testing any patients admitted to determine their level of contagiousness. In exchange, health care centers were provided with blanket immunity from COVID-19 liability.

The Repeal’s Implications for Nursing Home Victims

Liability protections allowed health care centers to cut corners and jeopardize vulnerable patients while increasing profit margins. The immunity law eliminated a significant deterrent that loved ones of nursing home residents had to protect their family members from neglect and mistreatment. Critics have pointed out Cuomo’s questionable motivations as the Greater New York Hospital Association, an influential lobbying group, donated lots of money to his campaign.

Whether texting, listening to music or scrolling through social media posts, the number of distracted pedestrians has significantly increased in recent years. Almost anyone who travels around in busy sections of town can attest to the alarming number of people not paying attention while walking. Unfortunately, distracted pedestrians can easily place both themselves and others in considerable danger.

What are the Consequences of Distracted Pedestrians?

Since 2004, the number of severe injuries to pedestrians using their smartphones has more than doubled. Recent research reveals that over 60 percent of pedestrians are distracted by other activities while on foot. As a result, more and more people are randomly tripping over curbs, waking into oncoming traffic, and falling down steps. This can be particularly troublesome for motorists when distracted pedestrians attempt to cross streets while looking at their phones instead of oncoming vehicles. Drivers may be forced to swerve out of the way and into other cars. Crossing the street distracted is even more dangerous when motorists fail to pay attention.

A recent Third Circuit Court ruling in Carmen Rosa Gomez v. Norfolk Southern Corporation, et al. (Case No. 2:17-cd-00231) could be a defining moment for some Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA) claims. The case was brought by the widow of a lift truck operator who was crushed to death in a work accident. Eleven defendants, including the Norfolk Southern Railway (NSR), are parties to the lawsuit. The court’s ruling on who can be considered a common carrier and an employer may have larger implications by potentially expanding the types of defendants who can be named in future FELA claims.

Court Ruled Against H&M and NSR

A truck collapsed on top of the plaintiff’s husband while he was unloading a shipping container from a railcar. When the accident occurred, the plaintiff’s husband was an employee of H&M International Transportation, Inc. (H&M), a contractor hired by NSR to manage operations at the terminal. The widow made several allegations against the defendants, including FELA claims against H&M and NSR. In summary judgment motions, both defendants asserted that they should not be named in a FELA claim. H&M argued that it was a contractor, not a common carrier, while NSR contended that it was not the decedent’s employer.

In Haviland v. Lourdes Med. Ctr. of Burlington County, Inc., the plaintiff suffered a shoulder injury while undergoing a radiology exam because the technician deviated from accepted standards of medical care. However, the trial court dismissed the case because the plaintiff failed to file an affidavit of merit (AOM). The legal issue revolved around whether New Jersey law mandates AOMs for vicarious liability claims filed against healthcare establishments involving negligent unlicensed employees. After reviewing the medical malpractice case, the Superior Court of New Jersey ruled that the plaintiff was not required to file an AOM with his complaint. The decision to reverse the lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit could have profound implications on future vicarious liability claims concerning the requirement of AOMs for med mal cases.

The Ruling’s Possible Implications For New York Med Mal Cases

New Jersey and 27 other states require an affidavit of merit for medical malpractice cases. Under New York Law, all med mal actions must be accompanied by a certificate from the plaintiff’s attorney, declaring that he or she consulted with at least one licensed physician and, after thoroughly assessing the facts of the case, has determined that there are adequate grounds for pursuing such action. The affidavit of merit mandate was primarily designed to filter out frivolous claims before they are brought to court.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is investigating a multistate outbreak of potentially dangerous bacteria. Hand soaps linked to Burkholderia Cepacia infections, sold at Walmart and other retailers, were voluntarily recalled over health concerns. B. Cepacia is the name given for at least 20 different species of bacteria that are often antibiotic-resistant.

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest public health threats of modern times. Unfortunately, roughly 2.8 million victims contract antibiotic-resistant infections, and over 35,000 of those suffer fatalities each year. According to the CDC, B. Cepacia is found in soil and water, but contaminated medicines usually cause human infections. Although B. Cepacia poses minimal risk to healthy individuals, those with certain sicknesses, such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, and weakened immune systems, may be more vulnerable to infections, which can cause severe lung disease and even death.

What Scent Theory Products are Contaminated? 

Chief Judge Janet DiFiore announced that the New York State Unified Court System intends to resume some in-person operations, including a limited number of jury trials in courts throughout the state. Although the chief judge has determined it is finally safe to bring people back to courtrooms, trials will take on a much different look than before COVID-19.

What to Expect for Jury Trials Under the “New Normal”

The District Attorney of Erie County, John J. Flynn Jr., promised that every possible effort would be made to ensure everyone’s safety. Anybody entering the court will be temperature checked, health screened and required to wear a mask. Social distancing has altered the traditional approach of summoning hundreds of potential jurors for jury selection. Depending on the capacity of the courtroom, under the “new normal,” less than 40 people, including the judge, court staff, 12 jurors, 2 alternates, lawyers, and defendants, will be admitted. All members of the jury and observers will be required to sit 6 feet apart from one another. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of courtrooms are equipped with enough space to handle social distancing. State Supreme Court Justice Paula L. Feroleto said, “We have one operating courtroom in each of the eight counties of Western New York that can accommodate that social distancing.” By the end of the month, Erie County plans on having two grand juries, which will meet on alternating days.

Another police-related fatality has recently gained national attention largely in part because it seems to reverberate the murder of George Floyd. As you may recall, Mr. Floyd was killed after a police officer kneeled on his neck, sparking national protests against police brutality and racism. The family of Angelo Quinto, the Asian American who died after a brief encounter with police, filed a lawsuit against the Antioch Police Department (APD). A spokesman for the APD told reporters that there is an ongoing investigation into the man’s death.

The Wrongful Death of Angelo Quinto

In 2019, Mr. Quito was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy. The 30-year-old man frequently suffered from paranoia and anxiety attacks. According to Cassandra Quinto-Collins, Mr. Quinto’s mother, she called the police to their Northern California home because her son was in the middle of a serious mental health crisis and needed help. Shortly after arriving, one of the responding police officers knelt on Angelo’s neck while the other handcuffed him. Ms. Quinto-Collins, was there watching the police and trusted they knew what they were doing. Meanwhile, Mr. Quinto pleaded with the officers, “Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me”. After nearly 5 minutes of the officer kneeling on the victim, he lost consciousness and was rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Unfortunately, Mr. Quinto never regained consciousness and died 3 days later at the hospital.

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