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Archive for July 2nd, 2011

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Employee Misclassification Wage and Hour Violations in New York

There’s nothing more frustrating than doing a job to the best of your ability and not receiving fair compensation for that work. Unfortunately, the world is full of employers who do their best to get away with less-than-fair work practices. Most of them are more than familiar with the workplace laws put in place by the U.S. Department of Labor but choose, nonetheless, to disregard them. People like this not only cheat hard-working individuals of the money they deserve but often destroy morale, intimidate, and do other things that make life difficult for workers who simply strive to keep food on their table and a roof over their head.

 

Among the most common work-related disputes, notes New York employment law attorney, Harley Fastman, are employee misclassification cases.  Employee misclassification refers to the hiring on an individual and the classification of that person as an “independent contractor” rather than a “regular” employee. Misclassification is a common problem throughout the country, including in New York, and is an issue that must be addressed.

 

Misclassification impacts the employee in a number of different ways, points out New York Wage and Hour attorney, Harley Fastman, who practices employment-related cases throughout the Greater New York City area, including Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Most important, he says, is the fact that this misclassification may make the employee ineligible for certain perks that normal employees would receive. These include employer-based benefits such as health insurance as well as workers compensation and unemployment insurance.

 

Similarly, through misclassification, employees who are deemed independent contractors may lose certain labor law protections such as minimum wage, overtime pay, and family and medical leave.

 

Employers who practice misclassification do so to increase their bottom line. Through misclassification they can avoid paying certain expenses including FICA taxes, income taxes, unemployment taxes, and workers’ compensation premiums.

 

Obviously, their misclassification practices are driven by the desire to save money. But this also hurts taxpayers in general as less is being paid to local and federal government for things like unemployment insurance and Social Security. Misclassification also gives dishonest employers unfair advantages over those who operate their businesses legally.

 

If you believe you’ve been misclassified, examine your relationship with your employer. If your employer can control what you will do and how it will be done, then you are an “employee”. If you are an “independent contractor”, the person who is paying you can only direct and control the result of your work, not what will be done and how the work will be done. If, after reviewing the situation, you determine you’ve been misclassified, it’s time to take action.

 

Employers who are violating wage and hour laws need to be stopped.   The Law Offices of Harley Fastman are well acquainted with the particulars of New York employment law and can assist those who’ve been hurt by employee misclassification to recover what they’ve lost. Through thorough investigation and a knowledge of the particulars of NY labor law, Fastman can help obtain back wages as well as any other damages owed because of the misclassification.

 

If you’ve been a victim of misclassification or any other employment issues, including unfair overtime practices, failure to pay minimum wage, withheld wages, illegal deductions, or tip-related issues, you have the right to legal representation and to file suit against the employer in order to right these wrongs. For more information about your options, call 516-437-7300 or complete the Online Case Review Form on this
website.

 

 

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Brain Injuries Commonplace in Motorcycle Accidents in New York

According to national statistics, nearly 4 percent of all motorcycle accidents are fatal. Furthermore, about 92 percent of all motorcycle accidents that occur in the U.S. each year result in some sort of injury to the driver.

 

Face it. When an accident involves a car and a motorcycle, the motorcycle almost always loses. And while motorcycle accidents happen for a number of reasons, including poor driving or vehicle defects, the overall disregard of other drivers for those on a motorcycle puts bikers at increased risk for injury, no matter how many years they’ve been riding.

 

New York personal injury attorney, Harley Fastman sees these cases frequently. Because bikers are so much more exposed than those who are driving a car, even non-fatal injuries can be extremely serious and life-changing. As a matter of fact, one of the most life-altering results of a motorcycle accident is traumatic brain injury (TBI). This type of injury is quite common among bikers involved in accidents, especially those who choose not to wear a helmet.

 

New York motorcycle accident attorney Harley Fastman sees the sobering statistics when confronted with such accident cases, and though the helmet/no helmet argument has gone on for decades, the facts point to plenty of evidence that motorcycle drivers who wear helmets are less likely to suffer severe trauma to the head. But, say doctors, even those who wear helmets often sustain non-penetrative injury to the front of the head, which houses the area of the brain responsible for speech and other higher functions.

 

In order to lessen the chance of an accident, The Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), endeavors to help motorcyclists deal with the overwhelming number of cars and trucks on today’s roads, and, in turn, offers guidelines to drivers of cars and trucks in regards to sharing the road with bikers.

 

In a document entitled “Ten Things All Car and Truck Drivers Should Know about Motorcycles”, the MSF points out that most drivers don’t “recognize” motorcycles, though their lack of attention to the vehicles is usually unintentional. Instead, because motorcycles are small, they often look further away than they are or become hidden in a car’s so-called blind spots. Improper following distance is also a concern, especially on New York’s busy highways, says Fastman, who practices accident cases in most Greater New York City locales including Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Westchester, Nassau County, and Suffolk County.

 

In addition to TBI, bikers involved in accidents often require long-term care for other such life-altering injuries as spinal cord damage, amputation, and multiple broken bones. Indeed, Fastman notes, in his New York personal injury law firm he has seen plenty of incidences of severe trauma suffered by motorcyclists who’ve had run-ins with much larger vehicles. Hence, one of his major focuses is to assist victims and their families by helping them gain compensation for excessive medical bills and other expenses.

 

Though it’s tough to move forward after a serious accident, filing a lawsuit for compensation can help lessen the burden for everyone involved. For more information about the legal rights of a motorcycle accident victim, call 516-437-7300 or fill out the ONLINE CASE REVIEW FORM.

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Negligence Major Cause of Construction Accidents in New York

Some jobs are riskier than others. Construction is one of the riskiest. Those who work in the construction industry know that what they do each day may put them in danger, but most trust that they’ll be working in as safe an environment as possible with co-workers that are properly trained. That, unfortunately, isn’t always the case.

 

Frighteningly, some 150,000 construction site accidents occur each year in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, explains New York personal injury attorney, Harley Fastman, falls make up the majority of these incidents, and while some falls are caused by worker negligence, many are the result of poorly maintained equipment and a disregard for regulations.

 

Specifically, fatal construction incidents throughout the Greater New York City area were down slightly in 2010, reported the NYC Department of Buildings. However, a Queens construction worker lost his life in the early months of 2011 as did two workers in Manhattan, leading industry professionals to believe that fatal accident rates and sloppy safety practices were on the rise once again. Non-fatal construction accidents continue to increase as well, largely due to employer negligence.

 

New York construction accident attorney, Harley Fastman has seen countless examples of situations where employers had little or no regard for worker safety. Many of them blatantly disregard laws, yet workers assume the risk nonetheless, fearing they will lose their jobs if they don’t know what is asked of them. And in this era when construction jobs are waning, holding on to the one you have is paramount.

 

Does the company you work for put you in danger? Have you been an independent contractor for a firm that skirts national or local safety policies? Examine the facts. A disregard for proper safety measures includes:

 

  • Failure to provide proper safety gear including not only small items like hard hats and gloves but also other life-saving equipment such as safety nets and harnesses.
  • Failure to provide proper training for their employees. Even if you’re trained, if you’re on the job with untrained co-workers who don’t know proper procedure or how to operate certain eqiupment, your life might be in danger.
  • Failure to maintain equipment. Malfunctioning equipment – ranging from large cranes or forklifts to small hand tools – can cause serious injury. Employers have a responsibility to keep all equipment in good working order.
  • Non-compliance of standards put in place by government agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Such rules are set forth to protect workers and any intentional disregard for them is a serious offense.

 

New York personal injury lawyer Harley Fastman understands what it takes to confront those whose negligence has created havoc in the life of an employee. Furthermore, because he is well-versed in the particulars of New York construction law in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Westchester, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Fastman and his colleagues know how to go about seeking compensation for particulars such as loss of earnings, medical bills, rehabilitative services, permanent disability, pain and suffering, impairment of duties (in regards to responsibilities as a spouse or a parent), disfigurement/scarring, and loss of quality of life.

 

For more information, call 516-437-7300 or complete the convenient Online Case Review Form on this website.

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Drunk Driving Still a Major Factor in Car Accidents in New York

Every time we step into a car, we put ourselves at risk. Though danger isn’t usually our first thought when we get behind the wheel, the fact remains that an average of more than 10 million motor accidents in the U.S. each year can make driving a bit frightening. In 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 39,000 individuals died in those accidents and thousands more died within a month or two of suffering life-altering injuries while driving or while a passenger in a car.

 

There are lots of reasons for car accidents, especially these days as drivers find it necessary to talk and text when they should have their eyes…and minds…on the road. Alcohol also remains a major culprit as far as car accidents are concerned, and lawyers like New York car accident attorney, Harley Fastman see plenty of alcohol-related cases each year.

 

New York personal injury lawyers like Harley Fastman have come to recognize that drinking while driving has no age limitations. While young people do indeed drive while intoxicated, the problem is just as prevalent among middle-agers and even older individuals. As a matter of fact, surveys by the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission point to the fact that the average drunk driver ranges from 21 to 45 years old, with male drivers twice as likely to get behind the wheel within two hours of consuming alcohol.

 

Attorneys like Fastman know the appalling facts and figures about DUIs in New York, and though the aforementioned survey notes that 97 percent of all Americans see drinking and driving as a threat to their personal safety, only 63 percent believe that they should not drive after consuming 2 drinks, which can often put a person’s alcohol level over the legal limit, which is .08 in The Empire State. Many male drivers under 30 believe they can have 4 drinks and still get behind the wheel.

 

Sadly, national experts view New York alcohol laws as among the most lenient in the country. In order to support the nightlife of locales like New York City, there are only four hours in a day – 4 am to 8 am – when alcohol can’t be served. That’s 20 hours each day during which the drinking public can consume beverages that will potentially make them a lethal weapon while operating a motor vehicle.

 

Unfortunately, this raises the possibility of becoming a drunk driver’s victim, especially for those who must be out and about in the late night or early morning hours, when the majority of drunk driving incidents occur. And though arrests for driving while intoxicated have lessened slightly in the last year, notes New York personal injury attorney, Harley Fastman – who practices cases in Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx, Queens, Westchester, and Nassau and Suffolk Counties – victims continue to find themselves in dire need of legal assistance in DUI matters.

 

A drunk driving accident can be a life-changing event. If you’re a victim and need assistance, complete the Online Case Review Form on this website or call 516-437-7300 for more information about your legal options.

Posted on July 2nd, 2011

Car Accident-Related Bills and Medical Expenses

Many of us know someone who has been seriously injured in an automobile accident. We’ve seen spinal cord injuries that leave victims unable to walk and traumatic brain injury that renders the victim helpless and in need of constant long-term care. Others have suffered severe disfigurement due to car fires that occur after a crash. Some have legs and arms crushed and require amputation. The list goes on and on.

 

One can only imagine the horror the victim’s family feels when faced with the potential of tens of thousands of dollars (or more) in medical bills. Indeed, New York personal injury attorney Harley Fastman has seen the physical, emotional, AND financial pain that accidents can cause first-hand and wants victims to know that they have a right to be compensated for their serious injuries.

 

The Empire State, explains New York car accident attorney, Harley Fastman, is a so-called “no-fault” state. This legislation was passed in order to speed up compensation to accident victims to pay for medical expenses. No-fault means that car accident victims file for benefits through the insurer of the car in which they were injured, even if the other driver is believed to be at fault. However, if you are a pedestrian hit by a car or truck, the insurer for the vehicle that hit you will be paying your medical bills and lost wages.

 

Contact a personal injury attorney for advice on the following process:

 

  • Your insurance company needs to be contacted at once. Phone them with your policy information or have a family member do so. Stress the severity of the situation.
  • The insurance company will send a “no-fault application” immediately, which must be filled out within 30 days. Do this promptly. Failure to complete and submit paperwork may result in denial of coverage due to “lack of notice.”
  • Follow up on all paperwork. Call the insurance company to make sure no further information is required. This ties up any loose ends and assures that compensation is forthcoming.

 

Some people delay filing because they think they feel okay after their accident. The fact is, however, that some injuries aren’t as apparent as others. Hence, accident victims should always be checked by a doctor to determine the presence of internal injuries and other issues that may result in deadly consequences.

 

In many no-fault states, the victim is not able to sue the driver at fault for pain and suffering, emotional distress and inconvenience. However, New York’s no-fault laws include a “serious injury threshold” clause, which states that a liability claim can be filed by those who are considered seriously hurt, explains New York personal injury lawyer, Harley Fastman, who’s law firm practices car accident cases in Nassau and Suffolk County, Westchester, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx.

 

Anyone who files a successful personal injury suit against the party at fault for serious injuries suffered in a car accident may receive several types of damages including not only payment of past and future medical costs but also lost wages, loss of pension or annuity, pain and suffering, and non-economic damages such as loss of consortium (loss of benefits of a family relationship due to injury).

 

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an automobile accident, it’s time to investigate your legal options. For more information, call 516-437-7300 or complete the convenient Online Case Review Form on this website.