Monthly Archives: December 2018

Holiday Shopping Slip and Fall: Can I Sue?

senior woman with paper bags doing Christmas holiday shopping. For many people, shopping at the local mall or at a craft gathering is one of the highlights of the holiday season. Bells ring. Holiday music plays. Everything is festive. It’s a chance to think about how to delight your family and loved ones.

Slip and Fall Dangers Increase During the Holiday Season

Unfortunately, it’s also a chance to slip and fall. While people can slip and fall at any time, winter weather is particularly conducive to it. Floors become wet and slippery because people are tracking in rain, snow, and ice. Umbrellas and scarves are being shaken, which can also cause water, snow, and ice to fall on floors and other surfaces. People may drop small objects, like candy or small products, on the floor, which can be slipped on. There are many more people, which exacerbates all potential dangers.

Finally, store and mall employees, who are normally supposed to keep floors mopped, clean, and clear, may be pulled in a thousand different directions by people asking about products or waiting to be rung up for a sale. Employees may be seasonal and not fully trained.

Slipping and falling in a store during the holiday season can be very dangerous. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% of falls cause a serious injury, such as a head trauma or a broken bone. Head injuries, of course, can also cause concussions, which can be life-threatening.

A store, of course, is not the only place you can slip and fall. Parking lots of stores and malls can be very icy, snowy, and very dangerous.

Can You Sue?

So if you do slip and fall during holiday shopping, can you sue?

For a defendant to be liable for an injury someone sustains during a slip and fall injury, three things must be true. First, the person or entity sued must be responsible for the space in which you slip and fall. It’s called having a duty of care. A store and mall owner and manager do have a duty of care to keep their premises safe and cleared of anything which could cause someone to slip and fall.

Second, they also need to have known that an area was unsafe and needed to be cleaned, mopped, or fixed. Three, they need to have had a reasonable time to do so, but failed to do so. Sometimes, for example, store owners whose customers have slipped on a recent spill of liquid can argue that they did not have sufficient time to mop the area before someone slipped. A mall owner may claim that they shoveled and sanded the parking lot the first instant it became possible, but someone slipped before they could reasonable clear the entire area

But if all three conditions are met, it means the responsible party is liable. They can be sued for damages as a result.

If You Need a Slip and Fall Attorney in New York or New Jersey

If you or a loved one has slipped and fallen due to the negligence of another party, while holiday shopping or at any other time, please contact our law firm to discuss your case.

The NY & NJ slip and fall lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have years of experience successfully representing clients who fell and were injured at a store or shopping mall. Call us at (800) 711-5258 or fill out the form on our website. We will be happy to meet you at our Rockland County, NY or Bergen County, NJ offices. The consultation is complimentary, and there is never any obligation.

Additional Resources:

  1. Bush, Joe. “Safety in store: From the back room to the parking lot, retail workers face many hazards on the job.” Safety + Health. February 28, 2018.
  2. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important Facts About Falls.
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4 Lessons for Dating After Divorce

Woman divorcing and taking off wedding band

After the emotional roller coaster of a divorce, settling into a new normal can come as a relief. Starting to date again may be a key step that helps you move forward. However, there are plenty of things you can do when you start dating after divorce that can torpedo the experience. Here are some hard-learned lessons from others who have been through re-entering the singles scene.

Learn how to flirt again

We fall into communication habits with people we spend a lot of time with. For someone who has been married for a length of time, the flirtation muscles may not have been exercised in years. Practice them in everyday, nonthreatening places like in line at the bank or waiting for library checkout.

Be yourself, whether that means cracking a joke to the next person in line or offering him or her a compliment. When it comes to flirting, non-verbal cues are key. Smile, but not desperately. Stand close, but not too close. It may take a few practice rounds but flirting will become natural again.

Do not trash your ex

It is natural to feel self-conscious about a former marriage, and this can lead to over-compensating in order to let a prospective mate know that you were not the bad guy. But saying negative things about your ex can have the opposite effect. Not only can it signal an unattractive and unhealthy preoccupation with the past, it can lead your date to wonder whether you can focus on the current relationship rather than dwell on the past.

Wait until the divorce is final

Jumping into a new relationship might sound like a great way to take your mind off your divorce, but not waiting until the divorce is final can create problems. It can lead to questions about the timing of the relationship and suspicions of adultery. It can even lead to your new mate being called as a witness. Best to be patient and avoid these issues.

Take it slow if you have children

Professionals agree that it can be unfair to children to introduce them to a boyfriend or girlfriend before things are serious. While getting a taste of just how many fish there are in the sea can seem like a great way to get over your ex, viewing a parent with a parade of love interests is often confusing for children and leads to hurt feelings when relationships end. Take your children’s feelings into account and consider not introducing a date until you have a sense that this one could be a long-term fixture in the family.

Get expert guidance through your NY or NJ divorce

Going through a divorce can be physically and emotionally draining. Put your trust in an experienced divorce lawyer who has been through the process many times. The Bergen County, NJ divorce lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman are here to help you understand the divorce process, from state filing requirements to division of assets to child custody issues. Call today to schedule a consultation.

Additional resources for dating after a divorce:

  1. Divorce Magazine, 3 Reasons to Wait for Your Divorce to Be Finalized Before Dating,
  2. Metro Parent, 9 Rules for Parents Interested in Dating After Divorce,
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How Long Does It Take to Get a Car Accident Settlement Check?

Photo of woman near carIf you or a loved one has been in a car accident that resulted in injuries and vehicle damage, it’s likely that you will file an insurance claim.

Both New Jersey and New York are “no-fault” states, in which drivers can go to their own insurance companies to file a claim after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.

How long it will take you to get a settlement check depends on a number of factors. It can be up to a month, and sometimes much longer if the case is complex or the insurer cannot or does not find the relevant information quickly.

Insurance Claim timeline

Insurance companies vary in their speed in processing claims. Some are quite fast, and some seem to drag their heels forever.

When you are in an accident, do what you can to expedite the process. Be sure to file an insurance claim promptly. If there was a police report or you took pictures after it, both can help your insurance company. Have your insurance policy number and details of the accident (including from any police report) ready when you call.

If your insurance company contacts you for additional information after you’ve filed a claim, be sure to call back promptly. Insurance companies have multiple claims they are dealing with. It’s to your advantage to remind them about yours.

If the accident-related expenses are significant, it may be prudent to retain a qualified attorney. Car accident lawyers can negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf.

Car accident lawsuit compensation

There are specific instances when people who have been in car accidents can file a legal claim for damages in both New York and New Jersey. Plaintiffs can seek monetary damages for severe personal injury or death.

If the defendant is found liable and there is a monetary award, a series of steps occur. Usually, the other party’s lawyer will send a release for signature first. This will set forth the amount to be paid and perhaps other stipulations.

In most cases, the plaintiff will have to sign and date the release and return it. At that point, a settlement check is to be sent. In a court case, the attorney generally receives the settlement check, because it’s part of the overall settlement of the case. The attorney will send the check to the plaintiff.

A personal injury lawsuit generally takes much longer to resolve than a car accident claim.

Car Accident Attorneys in New York and New Jersey

Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have decades of experience helping New Jersey and New York residents get the compensation they deserve after a car accident. To learn more about your legal options, contact our law offices to arrange a free consultation with car accident lawyers serving Rockland and Bergen Counties.

Additional Resources:

  1. Avenier, Raul. “How Long Does It Usually Take an Insurance Company to Offer to Settle in an Auto Accident Case?” The Nest.
  2. Delbridge, Emily. “How Long Does an Insurance Claim Take?” The Balance. December 4, 2018.
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What Questions Should I Ask a Divorce Attorney?

A divorce can be a long road; you and your attorney will be working together for the length of the proceeding, anywhere from six weeks to a year, and possibly after that if the order needs enforcement action.

Having a good rapport with your attorney ensures you will communicate effectively, easing the process and helping to ensure you are working toward the same goal. Here are some things to ask a prospective divorce attorney to see if he or she is a good fit for you.

Relevant experience

Not all legal experience is of the same value. Not all lawyers practice family law, and those who do may not all handle divorces. Even among divorce lawyers, some may have experience with specific issues or types of clients and their related needs. For example, you may prefer a lawyer who has handled many divorces involving members of the military, hospital employees, or other situations that involves special types of retirement benefits. Consider asking:

  • How long have you been practicing family law?
  • How much of your practice is dedicated to divorce?
  • How many cases like mine have you handled?
  • How many of your cases have you taken to trial?

Strategic approach

It is important know that you and your attorney see eye-to-eye on the plan for your case. While your attorney may have to tell you things you do not like to hear, make sure you have compatible visions for the case.

  • What is your plan to accomplish my goals?
  • Are there preemptive actions I should take before filing?
  • If I have a choice in jurisdiction, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Would a collaborative or other non-traditional approach be beneficial?

Costs involved

Cost can play a significant role in some of the choices you make. Your overall satisfaction with the process will be much greater if you ask detailed questions to gain a clear understanding of the costs involved from the very start. It is usually not possible to give a definite answer at the start of a case, but these kinds of questions should give you an idea of what the divorce will cost you.

  • What are your retainer cost and hourly billing rates?
  • What other fees will be involved?
  • What is the total cost you anticipate?
  • Do you offer alternative or flexible payment options?

Hands-on representation

The big-picture questions are important but it is the daily handling of your case that will give you some sense of control over the situation. Try to gain an understanding of how responsive the attorney will be to your needs.

  • Who will be available to answer my calls?
  • Who in your office will work on my case?
  • How quickly will you return phone calls?

Divorce lawyers serving New York and New Jersey

If you are contemplating a divorce, call the dedicated NY and NJ divorce lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. With offices in Rockland County, NY, and Bergen County, NJ, we have helped clients all over New York and New Jersey for the past 40 years.

Call (888) 624-4916 today to schedule a confidential consultation.

 Additional Resources:

  1. NY Courts, Divorce Basics,
  2. org, Divorce: New Jersey,
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How to Let Your Spouse Know You Are Filing for Divorce

Woman divorcing and taking off wedding bandIf you are thinking about filing for divorce, it’s important to know how to let your spouse know it. In some couples, the idea of divorce may be in one partner’s mind, but far from the other’s. In others, there may be dissatisfaction or even counseling and separation, but not an agreement on divorce.

There are two aspects to letting your spouse know: the emotional and the legal.

Emotional Aspects

You need to let your spouse know respectfully that you are filing for divorce. First, you need to choose a place and time when you will have some time to discuss your plans. It needs to be a place where you can talk privately and without interruption, especially by phones, other adults, or your children.

Second, plan what you will say. You will to make it clear that you are moving ahead with divorce. Never equivocate. The break has to be clearly stated, or arguments can ensue, especially if your spouse doesn’t want to divorce or is highly anxious or agitated about the prospect.

Third, never blame your spouse during the discussion. That only lays the groundwork for recrimination later on. You must separate for the happiness of both should be your message.

Fourth, if possible, emphasize your desire to reach a fair settlement in terms of spousal support and children. 

Can I File for Divorce Without Notifying My Spouse?

Note that the initial discussion is just for information between you and a spouse. It has no legal standing.

For divorce proceedings to begin, you will need to visit an attorney specializing in divorce or family law.

Sometimes, we are asked if a divorce filing can be done without notifying a spouse. While it is possible to begin the proceedings without notification, a spouse must eventually be served court papers, called a divorce petition or summons, that indicate a divorce action is pending in court.

These papers must be filed in the appropriate court, and are then served to the spouse.

There are several ways to serve these papers, including via mail, a process server, or hand delivery by a person neither yourself nor one of your children. Your lawyer can advise you as to the customary method.

One of the points of serving the papers is so the spouse can respond if the divorce is to be contested.

If You Need a Divorce Lawyer in New York or New Jersey

If you need a Rockland County divorce lawyer, Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have been helping clients with divorce and related processes in New York and New Jersey for more than 40 years.

If talks with your spouse are not viable, we can negotiate and fight for your rights via litigation.

We are here to guide you through a range of issues, such as child custody, visitation rights, child support, alimony and spousal support, division of marital assets, modification after divorce, parental relocation, and conservatorships.

Additional Resources:

  1. Dillon, Cheryl. “How To Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce.” Equitable Mediation.
  2. Margulies, Sam. “Telling Your Spouse You Want a Divorce.” Psychology Today. November 12, 2009.
  3. Women’ How To Serve Divorce Papers.
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3 Excuses People Give for Driving Drunk

drunk driving dui dwiDriving while impaired by alcohol causes far too many injuries and deaths on the nation’s highways every year. A person is killed by a driver who is impaired by alcohol roughly every 50 minutes of every day, all year around, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s 29 people per day – nearly all entirely preventable.

But the dangers of drinking and driving is a frequently reiterated message. Yet it still continues to happen.

What excuses do people give for driving drunk? The Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) polled people whose blood alcohol content (BAC) registered 0.8% or more, which is the legal point at which people can be charged with a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest in most states, to find out, and this is what they found.

1. They think they are okay to drive.

Nearly half the people surveyed believed they were okay to drive. Presumably, this meant they did not feel inebriated and felt their judgment and reflexes were not impaired.

Remember, people who drink often don’t feel that they are as impaired as they are. Their own judgment and feelings can be affected by the alcohol and the circumstances surrounding it, should not be relied on.

2. They didn’t have far to drive.

Roughly 12% drove while drunk because they didn’t have far to drive.

Remember, many accidents occur within just a few miles of a driver’s home. Not having far to drive does nothing to diminish the possibility and severity of accidents.

3. They felt they could make it home if they were careful.

Approximately 10% of respondents felt they could make it home if they drove carefully. But carefully, of course, is relative. Drivers whose BAC is over the legal limit may feel they are driving very carefully. In fact, they could be weaving down the road.

It’s also true that many people feel social pressure to drink – and perhaps drink to excess – at certain times of the year. At this time of year, when social events are frequent and often include alcohol, it’s important to reiterate this message: drivers should not drink to excess, at parties or any other time.

When You Need a Seasoned Car Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a car accident because the other driver had had too much to drink, please contact our law firm to discuss your case.

Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have years of experience litigating vehicle accidents. Call us today to speak with a car accident lawyer in Bergen County or Rockland County. The consultation is free, and there is never any obligation.

Additional Resources:

  1. NHTSA. Traffic Tech. Why People Drink and Drive: Study Looks At Decisions That Lead to Impaired Driving. Number 91, April 1995.
  2. Survey: People Have Reasons for Drunk Driving. Dumb Ones. LifeSaver. January 4, 2018.
  3. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Motor Vehicle Safety. Impaired Safety.
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Marriott, Starwood Data Breach Class Action Lawsuit Investigation

hotel signDid you stay at one of the following Starwood Hotels between 2014 and Nov. 30, 2018 and receive an email from Marriott or Starwood informing you that you have been affected by the data breach?

  • W Hotels
  • Sheraton Hotels & Resorts
  • Regis
  • Element Hotels
  • Westin Hotels & Resorts
  • Tribute Portfolio
  • Design Hotels
  • Aloft Hotels
  • Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts
  • The Luxury Collection
  • Starwood branded timeshare properties
  • Four Points by Sheraton

On Friday November 30, 2018 Marriott International admitted in a statement that its system for guest reservations at Starwood Hotels had been hacked, possibly exposing the personal information of up to 500 million hotel guests at its Starwood hotels and properties. The breach is massive—starting in 2014 and ending only in September of 2018.

This information may include:

  • Names
  • Email Addresses
  • Phone Numbers
  • Passport Numbers
  • Date of Birth
  • Arrival Information
  • Payment Card numbers

If you booked a reservation at one of the Starwood Hotels listed above between 2014 and 2018, and received an email from Marriott or Starwood that you have been affected by the breach, you may qualify to join this Starwood data breach class action lawsuit investigation.

If you have been affected or want more information on this matter, contact: GARY S. GRAIFMAN, ESQ. at KANTROWITZ, GOLDHAMER & GRAIFMAN, TOLL FREE AT (888) 752-5018 or via Email at GGRAIFMAN@KGGLAW.COM

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