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New York City Liability Defense Legal Blog

How can a retail corporation reduce its liability?

Large retail companies must do their best to protect customers and avoid lawsuits. Risk management strategies may help companies reduce injury and liability. Lawsuits are often brought against retail companies regarding safety standards or regulations.

Two retailers that had issues

What goes into naming new medications?

A number of medication errors in New York occur because of drug names that sound close enough to one another to be easily confused. For this reason, according to the American Society of Hematology, drug manufacturers take great care to avoid giving new medications names that are too similar to existing medications in spelling or phonetics. If a proposed name is too close to that of an existing pharmaceutical, the regulators may require the manufacturers to change it. 

However, this is only one of a number of rules that govern what name a drug manufacturer can give a new medication. National nomenclature committees under the onus of the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association have the final say in the matter, and those organizations place significant emphasis upon the clarity of medication names. For this reason, they may adjust the spelling so it is easier to spell and pronounce. Thus, because it is easier to figure out how to pronounce "alfa" than "alpha," a pharmaceutical with the Greek root word in its name may see its spelling revised. 

How are you to proceed when road conditions are hazardous?

As the representative of a transportation carrier, you are often asked to walk a fine line. Your administrative duties may often require that you emphasize customer service (which in your case likely means that passengers get to their destinations both in New York and beyond on time). Yet your obligation to the safety of both your drivers and passengers may also require that your decisions be made with their overall bests interests in mind (even if it requires upsetting patrons and potentially negatively impacting your customer service rankings). Few would want to be in your position when faced with such a decision, yet fortunately, federal law effectively makes the decision for you. 

Section 392.14 of the Code of Federal Regulations states that you (and your drivers) must exercise extreme caution when confronted with hazardous road conditions. Such conditions may arise due to factors such as: 

  • Snow and ice
  • Rain or sleet
  • Fog or mist
  • Dust
  • Smoke

How is negligent security proven?

Security companies are often hired by property owners and others to ensure a safe environment. When issues occur, third parties incurring injuries or property damage may file suit, both against the security company as well as any owners of the property. explains how negligent security is proven in order for a person to have a successful case. 

While it's true that crime and emergencies can happen anywhere, an incident that causes harm to others isn't sufficient grounds for a lawsuit. What must be proven with negligent security claims is that property owners or others were aware of the potential for criminal wrongdoing and failed to enact the proper protections. This goes back to the tenet of reasonable care. It must be shown that reasonable care was not taken to safeguard people occupying a property.

PG&E wildfire liability

PG&E may be responsible for the death of 85 people that were killed in a fire caused by a sparking transmission line. Documentation obtained under the Freedom of Information Act proves that PG&E chose not to replace 49 electrical line towers that the company knew were faulty.

PG&E supplies electricity and natural gas to 16 million people across the U.S. For years, PG&E knew that parts of its 18,500-mile transmission system were dangerously outdated. The company was aware that some of their high-power voltage lines could fail and spark wildfires, yet they did not make the necessary updates.

What are off-label prescription drugs?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is responsible for approving medication. When medication is approved, it's for a specific therapeutic benefit. For example, medication can be approved to treat high blood pressure, seizures, or depression. Some medicines are approved for one thing but later found to be beneficial in some other aspect. This is what's known as off-label use. According to WebMD, the practice is quite common. However, it's not without its risks. 

Numerous drugs are prescribed in this manner. For example, people suffering from chronic pain are often provided medicine traditionally used to treat depression and anxiety. Certain cancer drugs are frequently used off-label, as many of these drugs are originally designed to treat one type of cancer but are found to be successful at treating others. Medications used to treat high blood pressure can also be used to treat heart disease or even prevent heart failure in some patients. 

What should I do if my home insurance claim is denied?

Insurance claims are denied for all types of reasons, from a peril not being covered or owner negligence. While in some cases the denial is justified, in others it's based on an error or misunderstanding of your policy. That's why it's important for you to address all denied claims in the appropriate manner, as explained by Money Crashers

If you don't know your policy backward and forwards, now is a good time to become intimately acquainted. Understanding the details of your home insurance policy will allow you to catch any errors or mistakes that may have slipped by your adjuster. It will also allow you to understand policy limitations. For example, even if a peril is covered your policy may fall short of the compensation you're requesting. Also, revisit your claim and compare it to policy details. Make sure you have all the information you need before contacting your insurance company. 

Keeping customers safe from tripping hazards

A concern of many business owners in New York that often goes unrealized by the busy patron is keeping their premises safe and free of hazards that could accidentally injure their customers. Often, companies spend time throughout the day monitoring their premises to make sure that hazards are dealt with in a timely manner before they turn into risks. 

Unfortunately, there are times when the carelessness of a customer can contribute to an accident in which he or she is injured. During these situations, it is not uncommon for the company to be investigated as authorities try to reach the bottom of what has happened. In these circumstances, companies may have to defend their position and provide evidence that the accident was not in fact, their fault. 

What if you were blamed for a trucker's decision to speed?

Employees will often cite the pressure to perform as a reason for their cutting corners at work. This puts the spotlight on you (as an employer), painting a picture where your concern is only for your bottom line rather than the well-being of your workforce and the integrity of your services. While it may be true that you expect employees to perform at a certain level, your expectations need not always be misconstrued as pressure to accomplish tasks no matter the costs. 

As a provider of trucking and/or transportation services, you have an obligation to your clients to complete routes within a reasonable amount of time. That depends largely on your drivers, who you know need to balance the safe operation of their vehicles with the need to get to where they are going on time. If one of your drivers happens to be driving at excessive speeds and causes an accident, it might be very easy for them to claim they were only speeding to meet your performance demands. 

What duty of care do you owe to visitors?

You might believe that as a property owner in New York, you only need to concern yourself with the safety of those that you invite into your home or onto your land. Yet your actual legal duty of care to visitors is quite a bit more complex. While you might think that those who trespass on your property assume whatever risks might be associated with being there, the law may sometimes disagree, placing the responsibility on you to ensure that even trespassers stay safe while on your premises. 

The New York Bar Association cites the state's civil Pattern Jury Instructions when detailing your duty of care to visitors. Here it states that you are required "to use reasonable care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition for the protection of all persons whose presence is reasonably foreseeable.” State court rulings have gone on to clarify that responsibility remains regardless of the status of visitors on your property. It has further been established that the scope of this responsibility depends on "the foreseeability of the possible harm.” 

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