Author Archives: Sarah KleinAuthorChestnut RidgeNY

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The death of someone who is close to you can be emotionally devastating. The emotional impact of that death is especially traumatic when it was caused by another person’s negligence or malfeasance.

The wrongful death attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman have prepared this brief guide to help anyone who is experiencing that emotional trauma to determine if they can bring a suit against the negligent party.

A wrongful death claim is not the same as a survival action

The decedent’s family members will typically initiate a wrongful death lawsuit to recover the financial losses they suffer as a result of their loved one’s death. Survival actions are intended to recover the decedent’s medical expenses and to provide compensation for his or her pain and suffering prior to his death. The two actions might overlap to the extent that they require proof of similar matters to justify a damages award, but  the damages awarded in each action will be different. 

Who is eligible to file for a wrongful death?

The decedent’s spouse and his or her minor children will generally be part of a wrongful death lawsuit. Nieces and nephews, adult children, grandchildren, and other persons who relied on the decedent for financial support may also have causes of action for wrongful death. 

Any damages awarded will be based on elements such as the financial support and the value of household services provided by the decedent over his or her lifetime, funeral and burial expenses, and the value of the decedent’s companionship and parental or other skills that are lost as a result of his or her death. The individuals who incur these expenses and who suffer these losses are generally eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. 

Personal representative may be appointed 

A probate court will first appoint that representative based on the decedent’s will or other estate plan, and then that representative will have the authority to proceed with the wrongful death action. In both New York and New Jersey, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. Any delays in a probate court’s appointment of a personal representative can create a risk that this two-year deadline will not be satisfied. The decedent’s family members should therefore be careful not to delay the initiation of the probate process.

Damages awarded will go to the decedent’s estate 

Multiple parties may be entitled to different amounts of wrongful death damages. The court will consider factors such as the age of the persons who were financially dependent on the decedent, the state of their physical and mental health, their educational level and whether they are entitled to compensation for further education, other means of support available to them, and other relevant legal and equitable factors. Attorneys well-versed in wrongful death actions will provide the best guidance on the dispursment of funds.

Insurers generally have no claim for wrongful death damages

Insurance companies that paid out compensation for a decedent’s medical expenses may well have a claim for reimbursement from damages awarded in a survival action, but they will not have an analogous claim against wrongful death damages.

Legal guidance in New York and New Jersey

A wrongful death can occur as a result of medical malpractice, negligent driving, excessive use of force by law enforcement authorities, and a host of other causes. The attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman represent family members in wrongful death lawsuits throughout Bergen County, NJ and Rockland County, NY.

For sound legal guidance in sensitive wrongful death matters, we invite you to reach out for a private consultation today.

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KGG Settles Class Action Lawsuit Against Flowers Foods, Inc.

KGG Partners Randy J. Perlmutter and Gary S. Graifman successfully resolved a class-action case involving Flowers Foods bakery product delivery distributors who alleged they were improperly misclassified as independent contractors rather than employees.  The case settled after more than two years of hard fought litigation, just prior to a trial on the core issue of misclassification.  The trial was ordered after KGG successfully defended Flowers’ motion for summary judgment.

The settlement encompasses 27 plaintiffs and contains significant monetary and non-monetary relief for the plaintiffs.  The total settlement was $1.49 million inclusive of attorney’s fees.  Flowers also agreed to several important changes to their distributor agreements that will better serve the remaining distributors now and in the future.  There were no objections to the settlement which was overwhelmingly well received.

To learn more details regarding the case and settlement, all documents are available on www.pacer.gov. The case is Schucker v. Flowers Foods, Inc., No. 16-cv-3439 (S.D.N.Y. 2018).

photo of attorney randy perlmutter

Attorney Randy J. Perlmutter

Gary S. Graifman AV Preeminet rating Martindale Hubbell

Attorney Gary S. Graifman

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Class Action Lawsuit Forms Against Sinclair Broadcasting

Sinclair Broadcasting TV Stations Under InvestigationIf you have invested in Sinclair Broadcasting shares between February 22nd, 2017 and July 19th, 2018, you may be entitled to compensation if a newly forming class action lawsuit proves successful. The complaint charges the company with violating federal securities laws and failing to disclose important information to investors. If you have lost $100,000 or more due to Sinclair Broadcasting’s actions, you have until October 9th, 2018 to become part of the legal action pending in the States District Court for the District of Maryland.

What Happened to Sinclair Broadcasting?

Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcasting was not just denied a $3.9 billion merger that would’ve linked over 200 stations across the country. Now, in what Variety Magazine called “a spectacular crash and burn,” Tribune filed a $1 billion lawsuit, accusing Sinclair of breaching its obligations to get the deal cleared by federal regulators. The Justice Department is reviewing actions taken by Sinclair, Tribune, and other broadcast groups for potential antitrust violations.

According to Tribune, Sinclair “engaged in belligerent and unnecessarily protracted negotiations with DOJ and the FCC over regulatory requirements.” Further, they contend that Sinclair “rejected clear paths to regulatory approval” and “found, threatened, insulted, and misled regulators” to retain control over stations they were obligated to sell. The lawsuit claims selling stations in 10 problematic markets would  have enabled the deal to go through, but instead, Sinclair “invited litigation” over divestitures and “went so far as to threaten to file its own lawsuit against the DOJ.”

The Merger Had Critics On Both Sides of Political Spectrum

The Sinclair merger may have been doomed from the start, with left-leaning opponents worried Sinclair would have served as a mouthpiece for President Trump to make his way into local newscasts while those on the right such as Newsmax figurehead Chris Ruddy fearing the concentration of ownership “posed serious risks for diverse and balanced news in America’s heartland.” The American Cable Association said the failed merger is great news for consumers who would’ve paid higher rates for television. However, the collapse wasn’t good news for everyone.

Why Does A Failed Merger Matter to Citizens?

Sinclair Broadcast Group shares took an 11.8% nose-dive after FCC Chairman Aijt Pai expressed concerns about the merger. Similarly, Tribune Media shares fell as much as 18%. These sharp declines resulted in losses of more than $100,000 for some shareholders.

The complaint alleges that the Defendants:

  • Made false and/or misleading statements and omitted material facts
  • Failed to disclose important information about the company’s operations and proposed merger
  • Attempted to openly defy the FCC’s broadcast ownership rules
  • Failed to disclose that the merger was not in compliance with FCC rules and regulations
  • Proposed divestitures that were sham transactions in violation with federal securities laws
  • Did not use their best efforts to overcome obstacles to regulatory approval

Get Help Filing a Claim

Contact Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. to speak to an experienced attorney in New York and New Jersey. We have over four decades of experience with class action lawsuits. We’re big enough to do it all, and small enough to care! With a class action lawsuit, you can expect a representative party (the “lead plaintiff”) to act on behalf of all class members in establishing a compelling argument in favor of compensation for all affected parties. If the litigation is successful, all members of the party can be eligible to receive a portion of the compensation package.

Additional Resources on the Class Action Against Sinclair Broadcasting:

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Bergen County Heroes of the Month

KGG law with Habitat for HumanityThe law office of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman is proud to support Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County! The goal of Habitat is to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the face of the earth by working in partnership with people in need.  Using volunteer labor and donated funds and materials, Habitat builds or rehabilitates simple, decent houses and sells them to low-income families at cost, but with no interest added.

Jacey Raimondo, Executive Director, was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to meet us at one of Habitat for Humanity’s work sites in Washington Township, New Jersey.  Habitat for Humanity of Bergen County was established in 1994 and has since built 47 homes in Bergen County!  There newest project that we visited is set to house 4 units, for 2 veterans and 2 senior citizens.

How can you help?

Habitat is always looking for more volunteers and with the weather getting nicer, it’s the perfect time!  Click here to find out more about volunteer opportunities.

If you are unable to volunteer, you can also help this excellent cause by donating new or gently used furniture to their Restore Bergen located at 121 Carver Avenue, Westwood, New Jersey 07675.  They offer FREE PICKUPS to surrounding towns which are listed in the link above.  Bergen Restore is also a great place to buy new and gently used furniture as the proceeds go straight to funding house builds and restorations!

Habitat for Humanity also holds fundraising events throughout the year such as Women in Business Networking High Tea on June 7th in Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ and their 7th Annual Golf Outing in Tenafly, NJ.

For additional questions, please reach out to info@habitatbergen.org.

KGG Law Firm Proudly Supports Local Charities

KGG Law Firm has been helping Bergen County residents with legal matters since 1975. Our wide-ranging expertise includes personal injury law, family law and divorce, class action litigation, employment law, estate planning, and real estate. While there are plenty of New Jersey law firms you can choose to represent your best interests, we are one that puts our money where our mouth is. We proudly support local causes like the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Shelter to make our community a better place to live. Contact us for a free case review.

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Drive Sober Campaign, New Technology Aimed at Ending Drunk Driving

If you were out and about this holiday season, it’s very likely that you saw “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” signs on the roadways. The signs are part of a larger annual campaign waged by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to stop accidents and fatalities caused by drunk drivers over the December to early January holidays.

259 Lives Lost due to Drunk Driving Over the Holidays

The annual campaign is spurred by the fact that holidays on the roads can be deadly.

During the 2015 Christmas holiday period, from 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve through 5:59 a.m. on December 28, 120 people were killed by crashes involving drunk drivers. That equates to 34 deaths per day due to alcohol.

In last year’s New Year’s holiday, reported from 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to 5:59 a.m. on January 5, 2015, 139 people were killed by crashes involving intoxicated drivers. That equates to 31 deaths per day.

Altogether, 259 people were killed due to drivers impaired by alcohol during the holiday period.

In the year overall, 10,265 people were killed in crashes related to drunk driving. In 67% of these accidents, the drivers had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or above, almost twice the legal limit, which is 0.08. In all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, it is illegal to drive a car or other vehicle if your BAC exceeds 0.08.

Even sadder is the fact that these deaths are entirely preventable.

The NHTSA’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign focuses on preventing people who have had too much to drink from getting behind the wheel. People planning to go where drinks are available should either designate a sober driver or use the NHTSA’s SaferRide app, which will allow them to call a taxi or a friend to be picked up.

Funding for Vehicle Alcohol Detection System Announced

As part of its yearly “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” announcement, the NHTSA also directed attention to over $5 million in funding received for the U.S. and the state of Virginia to create and utilize a Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS). DADSS is a safety technology that passively detects driver BAC and does not require any activation or specific steps on the part of the driver.

DADSS will prevent drivers with a 0.08 BAC or higher from starting a vehicle.

Legal help for victims of drunk driving

If you or a loved one was injured by a drunk driver, whether over the holiday season or any other time, the law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C. can help.

New York and New Jersey laws again drunk driving are stringent. Not only can drunk drivers be fined and jailed, they may be mandated to install devices that stop inebriated people from turning on a vehicle’s ignition. You may be able to bring a claim against the driver for medical bills, lost time at work, and other costs related to the accident.

KGG auto accident attorneys have decades of experience securing fair compensation for victims of negligent and drunk drivers. Call us toll free at (800) 711-5258 or fill out the form on our website to schedule a free consultation in our Rockland County, NY or Bergen County, NJ offices.

Additional Drunk Driving Car Accident Resources: 

  1. Chen, Aria Hangyu. “U.S. Has Highest Car Crash Death Rate, Despite Progress, CDC Says.” CNN. July 7, 2016. http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/07/health/us-highest-crash-death-rate/index.html.
  2. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). FAQs: How to Spot a Drunk Driver. http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/how-you-can-help/faq.html
  3. U.S. NHTSA. “U.S. DOT Urges Public to ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ and Announces Funding for Innovative Technology to End Drunk Driving.” NHTSA. https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/us-dot-urges-public-%E2%80%98drive-sober-or-get-pulled-over%E2%80%99-and-announces-funding-innovative
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Does Your Family Have One of the Top 10 Worst Toys for Safety?

We’ve just come out of the major toy-giving season of the year. Children have the fun of playing with new toys. Parents have the joy of seeing them love new toys.

In fact, every year a watchdog consumer group, The World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (WATCH), issues a list of the 10 Worst Toys. These toys, because of defective design, cheap materials, or both, can be very dangerous to children playing with them. Many of them can cause harm not only to these children, but to people in the vicinity as well.

WATCH has been compiling this list for 44 years to help parents and other gift-givers buy only the safest toys.

Injuries Related to Toys on the Rise

Toys can be fatal. Toy-related accidents killed 61 children between 2010 and 2014. More than 250,000 children were injured by toys in 2014 alone. Safe Kids Worldwide, a nonprofit organization, reports that 516 children have to be rushed to emergency rooms daily for toy-related injuries. Over one-third of these children are the age of 5 or younger.

Not only are these figures frightening, but the statistics indicate that unsafe toys are increasing. In the 21 years between 1990 and 2011, the number of toy-related injuries in children climbed by 40%. WATCH indicates that the climb is due to unsafe design, poor manufacturing, and lack of proper safety considerations.

More than 800,000 toys have been recalled since last year. Over 500,000 of them occurred just in 2016. Nineteen toys had safety defects serious enough to have them taken off shelves completely.

Over 65% of toys are sold during the December holiday period. But of course, children playing with toys doesn’t end there. Your children could have been hurt already, or be playing with an unsafe toy.

The 10 Worst Toys for 2016

The following are WATCH’s 10 Worst Toys for 2016.

  1. Peppa Pig’s Muddy Puddles Family. Reason: choking hazards.
  2. The Kids Time Baby Children’s Elephant Pillow. Reason: potential suffocation, and no warning label.
  3. The Slimeball Slinger. Reason: risk of eye injury. The slingshot can travel more than 30 feet.
  4. The Banzai Bump n’ Bounce Body Bumpers. Reason: impact hazards or bodily harm, and no protective equipment.
  5. The Nerf Rival Apollo XV-700 Blaster. Reason: risk of eye injuries.
  6. The Good Dinosaur Galloping Butch. Reason: risk of skin puncture from a pointy, rigid dinosaur tail.
  7. Peppy Pups. Reason: strangulation risk in young children from a 31-inch pull string.
  8. The Flying Heroes Superman Launcher. Reason:  eye injury hazards from the launcher.
  9. The Baby Magic Feed and Play Baby. Reason: choking hazards from small pieces. No warning given.
  10. The Warcraft Doomhammer. Reason: Potential bodily harm from the heavy, rigid hammer. Children can see the Doomhammer used as a weapon in video games and movies. This may encourage them to use it that way themselves, which is even more of a risk.

Dangerous toys & Product Liability

If your child was injured by an unsafe toy, the law firm of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C. is here to help.

All consumers have a right to expect that a product used for its intended purpose be safe. Product liability refers to a manufacturer’s responsibilities to sell safe products to consumers and be honest in advertising. If accidents or even death occurs as a result of design or manufacturing defects or a failure to warn, the makers may be held liable in a court of law.

Attorney Barry S. Kantrowitz has decades of expertise and experience handling product liability cases. To discuss your case free of charge, call us at (800) 711-5258 or fill out the form on our website to schedule a consultation in our Rockland County, NY or Bergen County, NJ offices.

Additional Toy Safety Resources:

  1. Safe Kids Worldwide. “Toy Safety.” https://www.safekids.org/safetytips/field_risks/toy-safety
  2. World Against Toys Causing Harm, Inc. (WATCH). “W.A.T.C.H. Reveals Nominees for ‘10 Worst Toys’ for 2016 Holiday Season. November 15, 2016. http://toysafety.org/toy-safety/2016-10-worst-toy-list/
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NTSB’s 10 Most Wanted Safety Improvements for 2017-2018

With the coming of a new year, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is publicizing its regular issued group of Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements. It is referred to as the MWL.

The NTSB is responsible for the safety of vehicles, trains, airplanes, and boats and other watercraft throughout the nation. It advocates for safety improvements annually. The MWL is intended to provide the upgrades that can make the nation’s transportation routes safer to navigate and save lives.

Transportation Safety Improvements Needed

  1. Increase implementation of collision-avoidance technologies. The leading item on the top 10 is to step up the use of existing technologies, such as collision warning and autonomous emergency braking systems. Further use can reduce fatalities and cut down on accidents.
  2. Ensure safe shipment of hazardous materials by airplane and rail. One of the trends in transportation is that air and rail lines are increasingly being used to carry hazardous materials. The NTSB recommends more attention to shipping these materials safely, to lessen the number of accidents. Accidents can cause the release of hazmat, which can threaten the health of those in the area. Increased training for first responders to hazmat release is part of this #2 goal.
  3. Prevent loss of control in flight in general aviation. The leading cause of fatalities in aircraft accidents is loss of control. The NTSB recommends enhanced pilot training and increased awareness of safety and the technologies used in flight.
  4. Improve rail transit safety oversight. Rail safety equipment and features need to be examined on a consistent basis. Improvements need to be developed and implemented.
  5. End alcohol and other drug impairment. Operator impairment due to alcohol is a leading cause of transportation fatalities and accidents. So, increasingly, is impairment due to drugs. More widespread legalization of marijuana and the rise in synthetic and prescription drug use has made all transportation routes increasingly dangerous. Operator impairment due to alcohol or drug use is preventable and should be a focus in ending accidents.
  6. Reduce fatigue-related accidents. Operators need sufficient sleep in order to respond optimally and exercise sensible judgement. Repair and safety personnel need sufficient sleep to perform their functions. Accidents can be reduced through sufficient sleep.
  7. Require medical fitness. Being fit medically is highly important for operators, those in safety-critical jobs, and maintenance personnel.
  8. Eliminate distractions. Distractions are more frequent than ever before. Operators of all transportation equipment need to focus on the task at hand rather than devices.
  9. Strength occupant protection. Seatbelts and restraints have proven themselves to be very effective in savings lives in case of accidents. However, occupant protection measures don’t need to stop there. Vehicles and craft can burst into flames after an accident. In these cases, technologies to preserve the space in which one can survive and to ease evacuation would reduce loss of life and injuries.
  10. Expand recorder use. Recorders can harness data and provide feedback to operators and people who ensure and maintain safety. With the data, they can potentially adjust and maintain vehicles and craft so that accidents are prevented. Maritime vessels, particularly, often don’t carry recorders. Increased installation and training would enhance safe operation and decrease accidents.

Advocacy for accident victims

The auto accident attorneys of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer, and Graifman support the NTSB’s Most Wanted List. It heartily endorses these and all other transportation safety measures.

However, one life lost on the road, in an airplane, a railroad car, or on the waterways is one too many. Accidents are still far too common. Victims who have been injured and even killed due to accidents have legal rights. So do their families.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a transportation accident, call us today. Our consultation is free, and we will advise you of your rights with no obligation.

Additional traffic safety resources:

NTSB, 2017-2018 Most Wanted List http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/mwl/Pages/default.aspx

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Car Accidents Linked to Video Game Craze

distracted driving by teensKantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C., is all too familiar with situations that put people at risk on the road. Distracted driving has been a long-time culprit of avoidable car accidents. Now, in addition to texting, putting on makeup, eating and other distractions, we can add to the list, of all things- a video game.

Pokémon Go

When released early this summer, Pokémon Go quickly became one of the most downloaded apps in history in its first week. Its creators said the game was designed to promote healthy activity among the usually static gaming community. Rather than sitting in one place and working their thumbs, this game required players get out and use a GPS-inspired platform to search for Pokémon characters in the real world.

The game has been in the news since as the game’s popularity rises along with an increase in car accidents.

Car accidents take a noticeable jump after release of game

With many pedestrians and drivers focused on their tech and smartphones, researchers at the UA College of Medicine wanted to see if games like Pokémon Go were contributing to distraction-related accidents. Dr. David Armstrong is a biomedical engineer and public health professor. Dr. Bellal Joseph is an associate professor and UA vice chair of knowledge expansion. The popularity of the game and its ability to stop one from paying attention to their surroundings concerned them. Joseph said, “Distracted driving is a very big issue right now – whether it be texting and driving or gaming and playing. It is almost replacing alcohol as the number one reason for motor vehicle accidents.”

The doctors’ curiosity was justified. They found accidents across the country directly linked to the game. Another independent study was conducted at the San Diego University in California where they saw a “dangerous side effect” due to game play. In fact, the game has been blamed for over 110,000 car crashes resulting in injury and fatalities, many of which took place in the first 10 days of the game’s release.

Liability issues challenged by manufacturer

The game’s creator, Niantic, does include a disclaimer in the game stating they are not liable for any injury or property damage that could result from playing Pokémon Go. Of course, a disclaimer does not necessarily absolve a manufacturer of responsibility regarding any ill effects associated with their product.

If you are victim of distracted driving car accident, Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman can help. Call 1-888-752-5018 for a free evaluation of your claim.

Additional Resources:

  1. The Daily Wildcat, UA study analyzes the hidden dangers behind Pokemon Go, http://www.wildcat.arizona.edu/article/2016/10/ua-study-analyzes-the-hidden-dangers-behind-pokmon-go
  2. USA Today, What You Shoudl Know About Pokemon Go, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/07/14/pokmon-go-player-crashes-his-car-into-tree/87074762/
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