Who can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

funeral service with flowers

Your mother was killed by medical negligence. Your spouse died in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. A construction accident claimed the life of your brother.

These are all examples of wrongful death. Wrongful death occurs when a person is killed by the negligence or intentional acts of a third party. This means that if a person kills another person, the killer can be sued for wrongful death. A wrongful death claim is a civil suit, so the person would have to face a criminal case as well to be convicted for his or her crimes.

Proving Wrongful Death

Not every untimely death can be classified as a wrongful death. Five elements must be proven:

  • A person died.
  • The death was caused by the wrongful conduct of a third party.
  • The claim could have been pursued in court by the victim if death had not occurred.
  • One or more surviving family members have suffered a loss due to the person’s death.
  • There are damages that the family members can recover from the estate.

Only Personal Representatives can File Suit

Under the New York State Senate, Estates, Powers & Trusts (EPT), Section 5-4.1, a person has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, not just anyone can file a suit. In New York, even a close family member may not be able to file a claim. Unlike other states, New York is very strict in this regard. Only the person who is considered the personal representative of the victim’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Therefore, if the victim’s husband is the personal representative, only he can file a claim.

However, the personal representative can claim damages that other family members have suffered. For example, children can receive compensation for a lost inheritance. If the deceased provided financial support or services to other family members, they can claim those losses, as well. Other damages can be claimed as well, including medical bills, funeral expenses, pain and suffering of the deceased and lost wages.

New York wrongful death law is unique in another way. The state does not allow surviving family members to recover compensation for their pain and suffering or mental anguish caused by the death. This is true even if the victim was a child. Also, New York does not allow a person to file a wrongful death claim for a fetus that dies before birth. Therefore, if a pregnant woman is assaulted and she suffers a miscarriage, she cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit because her unborn baby died.

Work With an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

If your loved one was killed by someone else’s negligence, you may be devastated and angry. While filing a lawsuit will not bring your loved one back to life, you can obtain compensation to help pay for expenses, such as funeral expenses and medical bills.

The wrongful death lawyers at Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. can assess your case and help you obtain justice. We can help you through this difficult time. To schedule a free consultation, call our office at (800) 836-7801.

Can I Sue My Landlord for a Slip and Fall?

family walking up apartment stairsYou slip on ice on the sidewalk outside your rented apartment. You trip over a broken stair and fall, breaking your arm. You trip over debris in the walkway.

Slips and falls happen every day. These common incidents can lead to serious injuries. In fact, 20% of falls result in a serious injury, such as head injuries and broken bones.

If you fall inside or outside a home or apartment that you are renting from a landlord, can he or she be held liable for your injuries? In some cases, yes. It depends on where you fell and how the fall occurred. A fall can occur inside or outside an apartment, rental home, sidewalk, parking lot, and common areas and possibly be the fault of your landlord.

Proving Liability in a Slip and Fall Case

 In order to sue your landlord for the damages you suffered in a slip and fall case, you must first prove that the or she was liable and that negligence caused your injuries. Liability is based on several factors. First, determine where the accident occurred. Did you fall inside or outside your apartment? If you fell inside, then it is highly unlikely that your landlord would be responsible unless he or she was responsible for an issue that caused your slip and fall. For example, if there was a leak inside your apartment and you notified your landlord, but he or she did nothing, and you slipped and fell on a slippery fall, then your landlord could be held liable.

If your slip and fall incident happened outside, such as on a slippery sidewalk or broken stairs, then it is possible that your landlord could be held liable. It depends on what caused your slip and fall and what your obligations are based on the lease. For example, if you slipped on snow outside the doorway of your rental home, but your lease says you are responsible for shoveling snow because your landlord lives out of town, then your landlord would not be held liable. Also, if the slip and fall was caused by some foreign substance—such as milk that you spilled in your driveway—then you again would be responsible because your landlord could not have known that the spilled liquid was present, let alone clean it up in time before you slipped on it.

 Regardless of the situation, slip and fall cases are not easy to win. Juries tend to rule in favor of the property owners because they realize that too many people are distracted and not watching where they are going. Your best bet is to have a skilled personal injury attorney on your side.

Work With an Experienced Slip and Fall Attorney

Slips and falls can cause serious injuries and even death. If you or a loved one was injured by a landlord’s negligence, make sure you understand your legal rights.

The slip and fall lawyers at Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. can assess your case and determine liability. These cases can be complex, so do not delay. Schedule a free consultation by calling our office at (800) 836-7801.

What to do After a Car Accident

men arguing after a car accident

With so many vehicles on U.S. roadways, car accidents are bound to happen. Six million crashes occur in this country every year. Chances are, you will be involved in one someday. Are you prepared?

After a car accident, it is important that you say and do the right things. If you miss an important step or say the wrong thing, you could lose out on crucial financial compensation.

If you become a car accident victim, use this handy guide to get through the process and ensure maximum compensation.

Be Safe

Many people survive an accident, only to get seriously injured or killed in a subsequent accident. Do not let that happen to you. If you are involved in a crash, get your car off the road as quickly as possible. Get to the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights, and set out cones or flares to warn other drivers.

Call Police

No matter how minor the accident may seem, you should call a police officer to the scene. The police officer will write up a report that includes information about the events and drivers. This report can be valuable when you file a claim.

Gather Information and Evidence

Get as much information as possible about the other driver and vehicle, as well as the surrounding areas, injuries, and vehicle damage. Make sure to get insurance information so you can file a claim properly. If anyone witnessed the crash, get their contact information. Jot down notes about the location, weather conditions, road conditions, and the events leading up to the accident.

The best evidence by far is photos. A picture is worth a thousand words. Get pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damage, property damage, marks on the road, injuries, and anything else that can prove your case.

Seek Medical Attention

Even if you feel fine, the adrenaline rush following an accident can mask even serious injuries. Do not assume you are fine. Make an appointment with your doctor or go to an emergency room. It can sometimes take injuries weeks or even months to show up. If you wait that long to seek medical attention, the insurance company will think you are not really injured, and the delay will negatively impacting your claim.

File a Claim

Once you have all the pertinent information, contact your auto insurance company to file a claim. While you should not lie to your insurer, be careful of what you say. Phrases like “I’m sorry” and “I’m fine” are often misconstrued. Your insurance company is not on your side. They will try to close your claim quickly by getting you to take a check for less than what you need to cover your expenses. Do not accept it. Try to negotiate or get a lawyer involved.

Work With an Experienced Auto Accident Attorney

If you were seriously injured in a car accident, do not handle such a case on your own. Insurance companies will try to devalue your case and keep you from getting the compensation you deserve for your damages.

Protect your legal rights by contacting the car accident lawyers at Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. We will focus on your financial recovery while you focus on your physical and emotional recovery. Call our office at (800) 836-7801 for a free consultation.

What to do if You’ve Been Injured on the Job by Scaffolding

two construction workers scaffolding while working

Construction is booming in New York and all over the country. While there is a lot of money to be made in the industry, it is also very dangerous. Thousands of workers are seriously injured or killed in construction accidents every year. In fact, in New York City, construction has become the most deadliest job.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), scaffolding issues are the main cause of construction accidents. Scaffolding is very dangerous, as it involves heights. Instability is common, with loose platforms and weak screws. Poor assembly and missing guardrails can also lead to deadly falls.

Scaffolding injuries can range from minor lacerations to severe head trauma or traumatic brain injury. Broken bones and internal injuries can also occur. Some accidents cause spinal cord injuries, which can lead to paralysis and other disabilities.

Many scaffolding injuries are caused by money issues. There is so much competition in the construction industry, forcing contractors to underbid on jobs. This means that contractors have to cut corners in other aspects, as well, so they hire cheap laborers who have little training. This lack of training can be deadly.

If or a loved one was a victim of a scaffolding accident, protect your legal rights with help from a scaffolding accident lawyer. Read on to learn more about what to do if you are injured at work.


What the Law Says


New York has a couple state laws that apply to construction workers. Under New York State Labor Law, Section 200, the general contractor or owner must ensure that construction sites are safe for all employees. All machinery and equipment must be properly maintained so that employees have access to safe devices. If an accident occurs due to a safety issue, and it can be proven that the accident could have been prevented, the general contractor or owner could be held liable.

Under New York State Labor Law, Section 240, construction laborers who work in environments that expose them to heights must be given proper safety provisions. Also known as the Scaffolding Law, this law allows a worker who is injured while working at elevated heights to sue the person responsible for the construction project.

If you do have a scaffolding injury claim, time is of the essence. The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in New York is two years. Therefore, you have two years from the time the accident occurred to file a claim for compensation.


Contact a New York Scaffold Accident Lawyer


Scaffold accident claims can be complex. Because they are construction claims, there are often multiple parties involved. It is important that you receive sufficient compensation from all liable parties. This can only be accomplished with help from a knowledgeable construction accident lawyer.

If your or loved one was involved in a scaffolding accident, contact a scaffold accident lawyer at Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. We can navigate you through the process and help you understand the various forms of compensation available to you, such as workers’ compensation or damages awarded in a personal injury lawsuit. Contact our office at (800) 836-7801 to schedule a free consultation.

Common Types of Dental Malpractice

When you think of malpractice, you probably think of doctors performing surgery on the wrong body part. Malpractice can occur in the dental field, as well. You might have had a bad experience in which you had a procedure done and ended up with an infection. Maybe you have heard stories of dental patients dying from serious reactions to anesthesia.

Dental malpractice is no laughing matter. A dentist’s negligence can lead to a lifetime of pain and serious complications that can even affect your general health. Read on to learn more about the most common types of medical malpractice and when you should seek legal help.

 Patient who is a victim of dental malpractice is experiencing tooth pain and will want to pursue leagl action against dental malpractice.

What Constitutes Dental Malpractice?


There are four main types of dental malpractice:

  • Negligent dental work
  • Delayed diagnosis or treatment of a disease
  • Failure to diagnose or treat a condition
  • Intentional misconduct by the dentist


Within these four categories of malpractice are many types of negligence. For example, infections are common in the dental field and they are caused by negligent work, particularly extractions and endodontic procedures. Another issue with extractions is that sometimes the wrong tooth is removed, resulting in multiple surgeries. Issues are also common with dental implants, as they are often lost or placed on nerves.

Many patients also experience issues with crowns and bridges. Lack of treatment planning was common in these situations. Failure to treat periodontal disease is another common issue.

While orthodontic work is common, it often leads to complications. Some caused tooth loss and TMJ injury.

Dental anesthesia is used quite often, but it often leads to serious complications, including death. Fatalities are especially common among children.

Adverse drug reactions are also common. Dentists often fail to take a patient’s medical history and give patients drugs even though they contraindicate their medical history. This has led to fatalities.

You would think that dental injections would be fairly easy for dentists to do, but many do them incorrectly. Many dentists hit the lingual nerve when they perform injections, causing injuries to patients.

When choosing a dentist, experience should be key. Improper use of dental tools can lead to pain and serious injuries.

Dental malpractice can also occur from misconduct not related to the work itself. For example, a dentist may molest a patient or speak to him or her in an unprofessional manner.

It is also important to know that a dentist can not perform dental work without your consent. A dentist cannot perform services that you did not agree to in advance. Otherwise, you have the right to file a dental malpractice claim.


Work with an Experienced Dental Malpractice Attorney


Dental malpractice is more common than you think. Your teeth serve an important function and it is crucial that you take the steps to protect them. If the damage has already been done, seek legal help right away.

The medical malpractice attorneys from Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. offer aggressive representation to help pay for the physical and emotional damages you suffer. We can help you file a dental malpractice lawsuit against the liable party. Call our office at (800) 836-7801 to schedule a consultation.

Brain Injury and Medical Negligence


traumatic brain injury from medical malpractice

Medical malpractice cases happen more often than you think. While some cases are minor, a doctor’s negligence can easily lead to serious injuries such as brain injuries.

Brain injuries can affect victims for the rest of their lives. In 2010, brain injuries led to 715.7 emergency room visits per 100,000 people and 17.1 deaths per 100,000 people.

There are many ways in which medical malpractice can lead to brain injury. Read on to learn more about the role of medical negligence in a brain injury case.


Causes of Brain Injury


A medical error can affect the brain in many ways. Some mistakes are subtle, while others can cause immediate damage.

Brain injuries can be caused by surgical errors, infections, birth trauma, medication errors, abuse and a lack of oxygen. A blood infection called sepsis can cause organs to fail. Even when doctors are able to cure the sepsis, the patient is often left with brain damage.

Babies can suffer brain damage at birth. Birth trauma often happens during labor, when there is a lack of oxygen. When the brain damage happens during the delivery process, it is often caused by medical negligence due to improper use of forceps, vacuum suction, and other instruments. The baby’s nerves and blood vessels can be damaged. As a result, the baby can suffer cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, hematomas, fractures, bruises, and hemorrhages.

While anesthesia can alleviate pain, it can also lead to brain damage if used improperly. Overdosing, intubation errors and lack of monitoring can lead to oxygen deprivation. The patient can have a stroke and suffer brain damage. The anesthesiologist needs to monitor blood flow to the brain and check to see if the patient has vomited during surgery. If a patient inhales the vomit, it can get into the lungs and deprive him or her of oxygen.

Brain injuries can happen during surgery. If a procedure is not performed properly, it can lead to brain damage. Any type of surgical procedure involving the head, such as TMJ surgery, brain surgery, and jaw repair have to be done correctly or they can lead to brain trauma.

Brain injuries can also occur when a patient is dropped during a procedure. For example, if the patient is under anesthesia and falls to the ground or has an object dropped on him or her, the patient can suffer serious injuries.


Work with an Experienced Brain Injury Accident Lawyer


Brain injuries can cause permanent damage to the body. With the right compensation, you can treat your brain injury and prevent further damage. However, you can not do this alone. Medical malpractice cases tend to rule in favor of the doctor, so you need the right legal help for a favorable outcome.

The brain injury accident lawyers at Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. will offer aggressive representation so you get the compensation you deserve for your damages. We can hold the doctors and other medical professionals liable for their actions. Schedule a free consultation by calling our office at (800) 836-7801.

Car Accident Checklist

people looking over cecklist after getting into car accident

Car accidents can happen anytime you are on the roadway. A driver may be distracted and rear-end you. A driver may lose control and hit your head on. A pedestrian may jump out in front of you and cause a crash

After an accident, you can not simply keep going and move on with your day. There are multiple steps that must be followed. If you do not follow them, you could be accused of a hit and run, which is against the law.

Do you know what to do if you get into a car accident? Follow this handy guide for a successful accident claim.

Move Your Car to a Safe Place

After an accident, you do not want to get out of the car right away. Ideally, you want you to be able to move your vehicle out of the roadway so you do not get hit again. If your car is still operable, move it to the side of the road. If it has been totaled, at least turn on your hazard lights so other drivers can avoid hitting it.

Check in on the Others Involved

If you are not too badly injured, see if others need help. Check on anyone else, including drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. If they are hurt, call 911.

Call the Police 

Many people fail to call the police for minor accidents, but a police report can still prove valuable, no matter how small the crash may seem. Your insurance company may claim you are at fault, but a police report may prove otherwise. If the police do not show up, you still need to file an accident report with your local DMV. 

Gather Information From the Other Driver

You will need some information from the other driver in order to file a claim with your insurance company. Make sure you get the names and contact information of all people involved. Get the license plate numbers and insurance information. Write down the make and model of the vehicles involved and get contact information for any witnesses.

Document the Scene

By documenting the accident scene, you can paint a picture for your insurance company so they can get a better idea of what happened. Get photos of the damage, any injuries you have and the general area, such as street signs and landmarks. Write down the location, time and date of the accident. If weather conditions played a role in the crash, make note of it.

Seek Medical Help 

If you have been injured, seek medical help as soon as possible. Do not wait several days, as this can negatively impact your claim. Your insurance company may claim that you must not have been seriously injured if you waited to seek medical help. Even if you feel fine, you should get checked out by your doctor. Some injuries take a few days to present themselves.

File an Insurance Claim

You should inform your insurance company of the accident right away. If you were not at fault, they will hopefully compensate you for the damages you suffered, including vehicle damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Give them as much information as you have, but be careful what you say. Do not admit fault. Let them assess your case, but if they are hassling you, contact a lawyer.

Contact a Lawyer

If you suffered serious injuries in the crash, you will want to contact a lawyer. Your insurance company will no doubt get you to commit to a lowball offer. Do not sign anything without contacting a lawyer. A lawyer will assess your case, protect your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve.

Work with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney

One of the steps to take after a car accident is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney, especially if you have been seriously injured. Insurance companies are not looking out for your best interests. They want to save as much money as possible, even if it means you do not get the compensation you deserve.

With the car accident attorneys from Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. on your side, your chances of a successful outcome are much greater. Do not settle for a lowball offer. Make sure all your financial and emotional damages are paid for. Our aggressive representation can help. For a free consultation, call our office at (800) 836-7801.

Cosmetic Surgery and Plastic Surgery Malpractice

Young woman undergoing a cosmetic surgery consultation

When you think of medical malpractice, you may think of a patient getting injured during a necessary surgical procedure. However, malpractice can also occur in situations in which the medical procedure is elective, or not medically necessary, but the patient goes through with it anyway.

This typically occurs with cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery. These types of surgeries are not medically necessary, but they still happen frequently. Just like any other medical procedure, mistakes can happen and cause the patient to become seriously injured. In extreme cases, fatalities can occur due to medical malpractice.

What are your options for legal recourse in these situations? Can you file a lawsuit and recover compensation for your injuries even though the procedure may not have been required? Read on to learn more.

Cosmetic Surgery vs. Plastic Surgery

First, it is important to differentiate between cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they are two different types of procedures. While both augment the body to some degree, they each have different goals and outcomes.

Plastic surgery is a type of surgery used to reconstruct a face or body part that may be disfigured due to an injury, burn, birth defect, or other medical condition. Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, is not done for a medical reason and is instead performed solely for appearance purposes. Examples of these procedures are liposuction and some rhinoplasty (nose jobs).

Types of Medical Malpractice in Plastic/Cosmetic Surgeries

Medical malpractice can occur in elective procedures. For example, lack of informed consent may apply. If the patient was not informed of the risks involved with plastic surgery, and then suffered an injury, they might blame the doctor. Had the patient known about the risks, they might have declined the procedure.

Surgical errors can also occur. The doctor might not administer the right amount of anesthesia. The doctor could leave surgical instruments inside the body or perform work on the wrong body part. Plastic surgery can also lead to pneumonia, infections, disfigurement, skin discoloration, and even death.

The average settlement for surgery malpractice is $425,000, while a jury award can top $1 million. When the medical malpractice occurs during a plastic or cosmetic surgery, however, obtaining proper compensation can be challenging. The defense will argue that the surgery as not necessary, and therefore the patient should not receive anything. Another issue to consider is biased jurors. Jurors might believe that those who get cosmetic surgery are vain, lazy, or rich. This may not be fair, but it happens.

Work with an Experienced Plastic Surgery Malpractice Attorney

There are risks involved with any medical procedure. If you have elected to undergo plastic or cosmetic surgery and ended up injured in the process, you may be able to file a claim against the negligent medical provider.

Medical malpractice cases are extremely difficult to win, especially when they involve cosmetic surgery—an elective procedure. The plastic surgery malpractice lawyers at Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. can assess your case and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. To get started, call our office at (800) 836-7801 to schedule a free consultation.

What to Know About Informed Consent

Doctor explaining the results of a test to her patient

When you schedule a doctor appointment, it is assumed that you will consent to a  physical exam, particularly if you are ill. However, a doctor can not perform invasive tests or surgical procedures without what is called informed consent. Under informed consent, a patient is entitled to learn about the benefits and risks of recommended medical procedures so that he or she can make informed decisions. They may choose to go ahead with the procedure or opt for an alternative, but the patient must have a solid understanding of what to expect.

When a patient undergoes a test or procedure without their consent, and they are injured in the process, they may be able to sue for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice may also apply if the doctor discusses one procedure, but performs a totally different procedure on the patient, even if the procedure was successful. Read on to learn more about informed consent and its legal

What is Informed Consent?

Informed consent is based on the premise that a patient has the right to make his or her own healthcare decisions. This is best done through informed consent, which describes the risks and benefits of the test or procedure thoroughly. Informed consent also provides the patient with alternatives so that he or she can make the right choice. If the patient agrees to the procedure, he or she will need to provide written consent as proof that the patient allows the procedure to be performed.

The patient has the ability to ask questions and get them answered in a timely manner.

When is Informed Consent Not Required?

There are exceptions to the rule. There are two main situations in which informed consent is not required:

Emergency Situations

In a medical emergency, immediate medical care is often needed to prevent further harm or even death. In these situations, there is no time to obtain consent from the patient, and as such, it is not required. This may apply if the doctor is already performing a procedure and finds another medical issue during the process. The doctor has the right to fix the medical issue without the patient’s consent.


If someone is unconscious or otherwise mentally or physically unable to give or refuse consent, then informed consent does not apply. The medical professional can perform the tests or procedures that are deemed fit based on the situation. This also applies if the patient is emotionally fragile or extremely anxious and may not make the right decision based on his or her emotional state.

Work with an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney

A doctor must obtain informed consent from a patient in most circumstances. If a medical professional performs a test or procedure on a patient without consent, it may result in a medical malpractice case, particularly if the patient is injured.

If you or a loved one underwent a medical procedure even though no consent was given, it is important to seek legal help. The medical malpractice attorneys at Peters Berger Koshel & Goldberg, P.C. can help you understand your legal rights. Schedule a free consultation by calling our office at (800) 836-7801.

Anesthesia Malpractice: Common Errors

Anesthesiologist administering anesthesia to a patient

Many of us have had to undergo anesthesia at some time or another as a result of a medical procedure. Anesthesia may be a scary experience for some, but it is relatively safe. It is also quite common, with 40 million anesthesia procedures conducted in the United States every year.

Even though anesthesia is a common procedure, it is not without its risks. A documentation error or incorrect dose can lead to serious health effects. Some patients develop permanent nerve damage. Others go into a coma and even die.

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