Author Archives: Jenn FusionAuthorChestnut RidgeNY

Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman Salute Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge For Their Heroic Work

 

Bergen County Heroes of the Month

The Law Office of Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman is proud to support the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge. “One common thread among all the lawyers who work for our office is a passion for animals,” explains founding partner Paul Goldhamer. “We agree with the idea that the morality and the greatness of a society can be judged by the way the most vulnerable are treated. The Bergen County refuge does great work in improving conditions for local animals, a cause we’re really happy to be a part of.”

Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge combats overpopulation the humane way

Uncontrolled overpopulation leads to insufficient homes for cats and dogs in Bergen County. Some establishments euthanize animals without a second thought as a way of decreasing animal populations. By contrast, the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge adheres to a “no-kill” policy. Instead, every animal that passes through their doors receives proper medical care before getting spayed or neutered. Some of the animals they receive have been thrown out car windows on the freeway, wounded with staple guns, starved, and left chained to fences. Behavior therapy is given when necessary to rehabilitate abused animals to be more suitable for their forever homes. Every effort is taken to find good, secure adoptive homes for the animals that are ideal fits for both pet and owner.

Animal welfare education is a top priority

Managing the glut of unwanted animals is an important part of the job, but the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge knows that education is the key to securing a better future. America’s next generation of pet owners learn about responsible pet ownership through educational tours, group discussions, and animal interactions. The organization reaches out to schools, scouts, and 4H clubs to schedule animal visits and talks about bite prevention / animal welfare.

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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5 Most Common Types of Financial Elder Abuse

Photo of woman in nursing homeFinancial exploitation is the most common form of elder abuse, next to neglect and emotional abuse. About 12 percent of the crimes against older Americans involves financial abuse – unauthorized check cashing, coercing the elder to part with property, or diverting guardianship. Each year, senior citizens are swindled out of some $36.5 billion dollars by trusted individuals and caregivers, according to San Francisco-based True Link Financial.

The most common types of financial elder abuse include:

Theft

Most often, trusted individuals or unknown thieves use an elder’s checks, bank account information, or credit cards to obtain money without permission. In addition to money, valuables, medications, and personal property may be stolen. Carefully orchestrated identity theft can wipe out an elder’s entire life savings over a period of time. Older people may be viewed as easy, weak targets – pushed down and mugged on the street by pickpockets. Some thieves brazenly walk right into an elder’s home, claiming to be investigators looking for leaks or coming in to talk about switching utility service, but use distraction techniques to rob the house of valuables.

Fraud

Criminals know that the elderly are particularly vulnerable to scams due to diminished hearing and increased confusion. Grandparent scams have been popular in recent years, where a perpetrator phones an elderly person, claiming to be a grandson or granddaughter in distress and in need of an immediate wire transfer. In another type of scam – the lottery scam — a perpetrator tells the elder a nonexistent lottery or prize has been won, with financial information required just to pay for shipping. Telemarketing scams convince elders to invest capital in bogus charities, nonexistent products, fake enterprises, or megachurches. Internet scams often come from foreigners requesting participation in a “business opportunity.” Service fraud involves taking money for work that is done improperly, partially done, or sometimes not done at all; this type of fraud is common, for example, with roof replacements after natural disasters.

Misuse of authority

Financial advisors may use their position of trust to convince elders to buy into expensive annuity scams, knowing full well that the money invested will not mature for 10-15 years – after the elder is likely to have passed away. Excessive trading activity and investments in high-fee funds designed to generate commissions for financial advisors are also common. These investment scams tend to peak around age 65. Misuse of authority by family members tends to come later. Caregivers who possess the power of attorney misuse their position to obtain a loan or withdraw money in an elderly person’s name, or make last-minute changes to the person’s property without consent.

Legal document abuse

Legal document abuse occurs when caregivers or other individuals trick an elder into signing over power of attorney when the elder lacks mental capacity to understand what is happening. Wills made when the elder is not mentally sound are a form of abuse. Elders are often tricked into signing paperwork that removes them from their property titles or adds the name of caretakers onto property and bank accounts. The elder may inadvertently make a dramatic and hasty change to a Will, Trust, or Transfer on Death Deed.

Extortion and manipulation

Loved ones may threaten, scare, or intimidate an elder into giving up assets or property. In one example, a female friend moved in with an elderly man who had memory issues. The woman claimed she was in the process of getting a divorce and needed a large sum of money for medical reasons. She used her undue influence to convince the man to write a letter stating that the money was a gift. She promised to repay the money once her divorce was final. In the end, she used the money for personal reasons and moved back in with her husband. Sadly, these stories of people preying on the emotions of the elderly and using their undue influence to extort are all too common.

Get representation from a financial elder abuse attorney

If you worry that a loved one has suffered some type of financial abuse, do not hesitate to contact an expert elder abuse attorney at KGG Law. We are experienced in these matters and bring the power of investigation to your case. We’ll help you uncover what really happened, blowing the lid off the abuse and bringing the full weight of justice to bear on the perpetrators. You only pay a pre-arranged legal fee if we bring your case to a successful conclusion.

Additional “financial elder abuse” resources:

  1. Indiana University East – Elder Abuse Fact Sheet, http://www.iue.edu/area9/Elder-Abuse-Fact-Sheet.pdf
  2. Mercury News – Senior Scams and Financial Elder Abuse Rampant and Grossly Underreported, http://www.mercurynews.com/2015/08/12/senior-scams-financial-elder-abuse-rampant-and-grossly-underreported-bay-area-prosecutors-say/
  3. Aging Care – How To Prevent 5 Common Kinds of Elder Abuse, https://www.agingcare.com/articles/how-to-prevent-5-common-kinds-of-elder-abuse-127186.htm
  4. National Adult Protective Services Association – What Is Financial Exploitation, http://www.napsa-now.org/get-informed/what-is-financial-exploitation/
  5. CANHR – Financial Elder Abuse, http://www.canhr.org/factsheets/abuse_fs/PDFs/FS_FinanElderAbuse.pdf
  6. Hands On Banking – Examples of Financial Elder Abuse, https://handsonbanking.org/seniors/elder-financial-abuse/recognizing-financial-fraud/examples-of-fraud/
  7. AVVO – Elder Financial Abuse-Financial Extortion and Gift, https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/elder-financial-abuse-financial-extortion-and-gift-771183.html
  8. Credit.com – Horror Stories of Elder Financial Fraud, http://blog.credit.com/2015/02/horror-stories-of-elder-financial-fraud-107857/
  9. WPBF – Thieves Target Elderly Women in Distraction Thefts, http://www.wpbf.com/article/thieves-target-elderly-women-in-distraction-thefts/8655428
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What are the Stages of a Personal Injury Case?

Decorative Scales of Justice in the CourtroomHiring a personal injury attorney is the start of a legal process aimed at holding negligent parties liable for wrongdoing and securing compensation for the victims. One of the first questions plaintiffs have for attorneys is, “How long will it take to reach a settlement or verdict?”

The Court Statistics Project found that nearly half of personal injury cases were resolved within a year. By two years, three quarters of cases were resolved. The median case processing time was 13.7 months.

The personal injury attorneys in NY and NJ at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman will communicate with each client every step of the way to be sure you feel valued and never brushed aside. Here are the general steps of litigation you can expect:

Stage 1: Meeting with an Attorney

You have up to 2 years to file a personal injury lawsuit in New York or New Jersey. Keep in mind the clock doesn’t necessarily start ticking on the date an incident occurs. Sometimes the timeline begins the date you discovered you were injured, or the date you discovered some else’s negligence was to blame for your injuries. It’s best to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to begin investigating your case. These calls are confidential and free of charge, so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You will need to sign a release form to give the lawyers access to your medical records, police reports, and other personal information related to the case.

Stage 2: Initiating Court Papers

If the attorneys are confident they can handle and successfully litigate your case, filing a complaint and a summons will be the next step. In most cases, the defendants have up to 30 days to respond. The defendant’s answer may come in the form of an admittance, a denial, or an argument that there is insufficient knowledge to admit or deny. Defendants may petition a judge to dismiss the motion early. Sometimes a counterclaim is filed against the plaintiff.

Stage 3: Fact-Finding and Discovery

Discovery involves written interrogations, document production, and depositions. Your attorney will assemble facts and documents from all sources possible to build a substantial case. Requests for admission can be a powerful tool in admitting or denying certain facts in the presentation before judge and/or jury. Depositions are sworn statements that are admissible in court. The best attorneys are adept at asking the right questions to get the testimony they need. They know how to poke holes in the opposition’s story, discredit witnesses, and challenge the legal arguments the opposing case hinges on to win.

Stage 4: Motions To Resolve Before Trial

Sometimes lawsuits can be dismissed in the early stages of litigation due to lack of subject matter, lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, insufficient service of process, or failure to state a proper claim. Summary judgement motions can end the case before trial if the facts are not in dispute and both sides accept the judge’s review.

Stage 5: Settlement

Many defendants will opt to settle before enduring the expense, public exposure, and difficulty of a court trial. Of course, what they’re willing to pay is not always favorable to the plaintiffs. Ultimately, you can choose to accept a fair settlement or you may decide to take your case all the way to court.

Stage 6: Trial

If the case is set for trial, a jury will be selected. The case will involve opening statements, witness testimony, cross-examination, closing arguments, jury deliberation, and a verdict. The trial itself typically takes at least three days, and wraps up in five. Trials involving complex evidentiary issues may take longer to complete.

Stage 7: Collecting Money After Judgment

Collecting a judgment can sometimes take extensive work after a successful verdict. Attorneys may need to work out wage garnishment, assets liquidation, bankruptcy proceedings, or collection proceedings.

Stage 8: Appealing a Decision or Judgment

The losing side in he lawsuit has the chance to file an appeal. A panel of judges review the court proceedings to determine if protocol was followed and sufficient justice was served. If the party loses an appeal in state or federal court, they may still appeal to the Supreme Court if a federal or constitutional issue has been raised.

Contact KGG To Get The Ball Rolling on Your Lawsuit

Our Rockland County and Bergen County personal injury attorneys have provided plaintiffs with quality legal services since 1975. We’re big enough to handle the most complex cases, but we’re smart enough to handle your case with care. We’ve covered every type of personal injury claim, from vehicular accidents, slip-and-fall premises liability, and dog bites, to workplace injuries, product liability, and nursing home abuse. Call us toll-free today to start the legal process.

Additional “personal injury lawsuit timeline” resources:

  1. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Tort Cases in Large Counties, https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/ascii/TCILC.TXT
  2. NY Times, The Longest Trial – A Post-Mortem; Collapse of Child-Abuse Case: So Much Agony for So Little, http://www.nytimes.com/1990/01/24/us/longest-trial-post-mortem-collapse-child-abuse-case-so-much-agony-for-so-little.html
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Largest Personal Injury Settlements in New York

judge gavel settlementOne of the benefits of working with a personal injury attorney is the opportunity to access greater resources and pursue maximum compensation allowable by law. Defendants are notorious for offering low-ball settlements, taking advantage of the plaintiffs’ desires to forego trial and speedily resolve the lawsuit.

Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman thrive on the fine art of practicing law, and we never let our clients settle for less. Our 35+ years of experience and in-depth understanding of personal injury settlements in New York guide us in knowing when it’s time to collect or when it’s time to fight.

For your reference, here are some of the largest personal injury settlements and verdicts in New York as of 2017:

$18M for amputee in medical provider negligence lawsuit

It was a long three-year battle for Tabitha Mullings, a Brooklyn mother of three sons, endured what the NY Daily News called a “shocking medical nightmare.” The 32-year-old presented to Brooklyn Hospital Center Emergency Room with illness in September 2008. Doctors diagnosed her with a kidney stone and sent her home with pain medication.

The next day, she called 911 with intolerable pain and numbness, but responders refused to take her back to the hospital. Mullings’ fiancé rushed her to Fort Greene Hospital the next day, but she had developed an advanced sepsis infection that had spread throughout her body. She lapsed into a coma for two weeks as gangrene spread to her extremities. When she came to, she found she had lost both hands, both feet, and was legally blind in one eye. She filed her lawsuit while still in recovery at the hospital.

Brooklyn Hospital and the city did not admit to liability, but agreed to split the cost of the lawsuit due to the severity of the woman’s injuries and their belief that a jury was likely to be sympathetic. Though she won nearly $18 million, Ms. Mullings told reporters her struggle would never be over, but added: “Now that the lawsuit is behind me, I look forward to going on with my life and caring for my children the best I can. I pray what happens to me never happens to anyone again.”

$22M for pedestrian in hit-and-run accident

Brooklyn Humane Society Veterinarian Shirley Miller was crossing Ninth Avenue at 48th Street on her 32nd birthday when she was struck by a Duane Reade Pharmacy delivery truck driver. Ms. Miller suffered severe injuries, including blindness, brain damage, and very limited communication skills. She will require medical care for the rest of her life.

The motorist “left her to die alone in the street,” according to the woman’s father. Duane Reader defense lawyers claimed the woman “slipped on ice” and fell beneath the truck’s rear wheel. Rather than call 9-1-1, the driver made calls to his bosses and union. Through strong investigative skills, as well as witness and medical testimony, attorneys were able to locate the driver to see that her medical expenses are covered and that justice has been served.

$35 million for construction accident

Maciej Sarata was working on a subway line rehabilitation project when a four-foot chunk of dislodged concrete hit a crossbeam, passed through netting in the controlled access zone, and struck him in the head. Mr. Sarata suffered a skull fracture and received treatment for head, brain, and spinal cord injuries. Lawyers were successfully able to argue that the defendants violated Labor Law § 240 — “the duty to provide safety devices necessary to protect workers from risks inherent in elevated work sites.” In addition to his personal injury lawsuit, his wife Magdalena filed a cause of action for loss of spousal services, which increased the settlement amount owed by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and New York City Transit Authority to $35 million.

Million-dollar settlements in New York

We, too, have presided over some of the largest personal injury settlements in NY history, including:

  • $9.2 million to the families of two teenagers killed at a construction site.
  • $1.38 million to a man who fell down an interior stairway at a private home.
  • $1.1 million to a woman whose fetus went into distress when the medical team failed to order a timely cesarean.
  • $1 million to a pedestrian struck by a delivery van on the sidewalk.
  • $1 million to a worker who fell 15 feet from a ladder while performing repairs.

If you are looking for one of the toughest and most skilled teams of legal professionals NY State has to offer, look no further than Rockland County, NY and Bergen County, NJ attorneys at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman. All personal injury cases are handled on a contingency basis, so you pay us nothing unless we win money on your behalf. We look forward to speaking with you in a free consultation.

Additional “largest personal injury settlement” resources

  1. NY Daily News, Legal battle ends, but Brooklyn mother’s fight for normal life may never be over, http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/multiple-amputee-tabitha-mullings-wins-17-9m-settlement-article-1.1033059
  2. NY Daily News, Brooklyn woman who was hit by Duane Reade truck receives $22M settlement, http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn-woman-hit-duane-reade-truck-22m-article-1.1705010
  3. Justia, Sarata v Metropolitan Transp. Auth., http://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/appellate-division-second-department/2015/2014-07885.html
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