Free Legal Consultation – Dutchess County Personal Injury Attorney

Personal Injury Lawyers in the Hudson Valley, located in Poughkeepsie, NY and Beacon, NY

For over forty years, the Hudson Valley, New York attorneys of Spiegel, Brown and Fichera have offered legal services throughout Dutchess County and New York City. Our long-standing offices in Poughkeepsie, NY and Beacon, NY work to serve this diverse community, offering a free legal consultation in a civil or criminal suit for all who contact us.

Cases We Handle

Specializing in civil litigation matters, our personal injury lawyers have handled cases in the areas of medical malpractice, product liability, construction accidents, wrongful death and more. We’ve handled a spectrum of cases, small and large, that range from smaller settlements to excess of $1 million. In addition, we handle a range of criminal cases including misdemeanors, DWIs and traffic infractions. Learn more about our practice areas.

Personalized Service

Each case handled by SBF lawyers is assigned to an individual attorney who handles the case all the way through, while using in-house paralegals and investigators to get results for our clients. The advantage of having our offices accessible in two locations throughout Dutchess County, New York (Poughkeepsie, and Beacon) means you can get the answers you need from your attorney close to home.

Free Legal Consultation

If you’ve suffered as the result of someone’s negligence, have been injured at work, or are seeking defense in a civil suit, you may be wondering what your next steps should be. Contact our office for a free legal consultation in a civil or criminal suit to get answers.

We speak Spanish! Consulta gratuita en español

New York Court of Appeals Extends Wrongful Birth Statute of Limitations for Two New York Couples

The process of undergoing invitro fertilization can be an emotional roller coaster with added financial and physical strain. Imagine going through years of this and finally being able to conceive a child, only to find out after it is born that it has a genetic condition that causes developmental delays, learning disabilities and cognitive impairments. Unfortunately, this happened recently to two couples in New York after receiving donor eggs at a fertility clinic. It wasn’t until after their children were born that the children were diagnosed with a genetic condition, Fragile X Syndrome.

After an investigation, it was found that the egg donors were both carriers of Fragile X Syndrome and over 2 years after the birth of the children, both couples brought law suits against the doctor and fertility clinic. Their allegations? “Wrongful birth.” Essentially, this means they are suing for the exceptional expenses in raising a special needs child. After the suits were filed, the doctor and the fertility clinic argued that the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is 2 ½ years from the date of the malpractice (in this case the date the embryos were implanted) begins to run from the date the malpractice occurred and that in these cases, this statute had expired.

On December 14, 2017, the New York Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court’s decision that the wrongful birth cause of action did not begin to run until the birth of the disabled children since until the children were born, the extraordinary costs of raising the children could not be determined. Despite extending the statute of limitations in these two cases, the Court of Appeals made clear that this was a narrow decision based on the “unique features” of these cases.

New York’s medical malpractice laws are intricate, and it is important that if you or a loved one have suffered as a result of a doctor or hospital’s negligence, you seek the knowledgeable advice of experienced attorneys. The attorneys at Spiegel, Brown and Fichera, LLP will always evaluate your case free of charge and give your case the full attention it deserves.

Breach of Contract Leaves People Hungry

Puerto Rico Hurricane Sandy relief breach of contract

On February 6, 2018, the New York Times published a news article titled “FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans, 50,000 Were Delivered.” In the wake of Hurricane Maria, 30 million self-heating meals needed to be delivered. FEMA awarded Tiffany Brown, an entrepreneur in Georgia, the job. When only 50,000 meals had been delivered, when 18.5 million were due, FEMA terminated the contract.

Breach of contract disputes like this one arise all the time in New York, and any breach of contract suit must be filed within 6 years of the breach. When businesses enter into contractual agreements, it is understood that both parties agree to the terms outlined in the document; however, the agreed upon terms aren’t always met, leaving one party at a loss.

The elements of a breach of contract dispute are as follows:

  1. Existence of a contract
  2. Performance by the party seeking recovery
  3. Non-performance by the other party
  4. Damages as a result of the breach

However, depending on what the contract is for, different laws will apply. For example, when the contract is for services, the common law applies. When the contract is between merchants and for the sale of goods, the rules of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) apply.

In New York, under either the common law or the UCC, the breach must be “material” and go to the core of the agreement in order to recover damages. For example, the delivery of a certain number of self-heating meals was material to the contract between FEMA and Tiffany Brown. The failure to perform would be a breach of contract.

Remedies for breach of contract disputes include money damages intended to make the non-breaching party whole and include both consequential and direct damages. Direct damages are the difference between the value received and the value that should have been received had the contract been performed. Consequential damages include lost profits and any resulting damages that can be traced back to the breach. Other remedies include specific performance, liquidated damages, restitution and rescission of the contract.

As there are two sets of laws that may apply (common law and UCC) as well as many exceptions to breach of contract laws, it is important to find an experienced attorney you can trust to handle your case. Contact the attorneys at Spiegel, Brown and Fichera, LLP.

Missed Cancer Diagnoses: New York’s New Law Extends Patients’ Time to Sue

New York Mother's cancer goes undiagnosed, sparks laws to change

On March 7, 2013, Lavern Wilkinson, a 41-year-old single mother of a mentally retarded and autistic child, succumbed to cancer at Long Island Hospital. Her death could have been either prevented or prolonged if she had been properly diagnosed with lung cancer when she sought emergency medical treatment for chest pain at Kings County Hospital in 2010. Despite the fact that an x-ray showed a mass in her lungs, Ms. Wilkerson was not told and was discharged with instructions to take Motrin for her pain. As a result, her curable form of cancer went undiagnosed until 2 years later when the cancer had already spread to both lungs, her liver and spine and she was given 6 months to live.

Current Law

Under New York’s current law, the statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice case against a hospital is 2 ½ years, or 2 years and 3 months when it is a municipal or governmentally run hospital, as was the case with Kings County Hospital where Ms. Wilkerson went in 2010. Although there are exceptions to this time period in which to sue, none apply to failure to diagnosis an illness. Generally, in New York medical malpractice cases, the time to sue begins to run from the date the malpractice was committed. Unfortunately, New York is one of 6 states that does not have a medical malpractice statute that begins to run from the date the malpractice is discovered.

Recent Changes

As a result of Lavern Wilkerson’s tragic story, New York reform advocates have pushed for extending the statute of limitations for missed diagnoses. Although the original proposed bill extended the statute of limitations for all missed diagnoses, the bill was amended to limit extending the statute of limitations only for missed cancer and malignant tumor diagnoses.

This amended bill was signed into law on January 31, 2018 by Governor Cuomo. The new law permits cancer and malignant tumor patients who failed to be diagnosed with cancer sooner, to sue within 2 ½ years (2 years and 3 months if it’s a municipal hospital or facility) from the date they are actually diagnosed with cancer. Hopefully, when this new law goes into effect, it will enable families like Ms. Wilkerson’s to receive some compensation for the grave and sometimes fatal consequences and tribulations of missed diagnoses.

The New York personal injury lawyers at Spiegel, Brown, & Fichera have been fighting for victims of medical malpractice since the 1960′s. Contact us today for a free consultation if you need help as a result of a doctor’s negligence.

DWI and DWAI in New York

New York’s DWI Laws Include Penalties for BACs BELOW the Legal Limit!

You have heard the slogan “buzzed driving is drunk driving.” This phrase implies that drinking any amount of alcohol and getting behind the wheel can be dangerous. New York’s DWI laws reflect this implication. The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) in New York is .08. However, even a BAC below the legal limit can result in significant penalties. If your BAC is between a .05 and .07 or there is any other evidence of impairment, you can be charged with Driving While Ability Impaired, more commonly known as a DWAI. Unlike a DWI, this offense results in a violation not a criminal charge (misdemeanor or felony).

There are several types of DWI and DWAI offenses in the State of New York:

DWI:

Aggravated DWI:

DWAI (Alcohol):

DWAI (Drugs):

DWAI (Combination):

Zero Tolerance Law:

Leandra’s Law:

BAC of .08 or higher or other evidence of intoxication

BAC of .18 or higher

BAC is between .05 and .07 or other evidence of impairment

Evidence of impairment due to drugs

Evidence of impairment due to a combination of drugs and alcohol

Under the age of 21 and BAC is between .02 and .07

Drinking and driving with a child under the age of 15

Keep in mind that the level of impairment from alcohol depends on how much you drink, how much you have eaten, how long you were drinking, body weight and gender. The body can process alcohol at a rate of about one drink per hour, however these various factors can change the speed of processing. Make sure you have a rideshare app downloaded on your phone, a designated driver or a backup ride if you plan to drink.

Penalties for the above offenses vary depending on your license type, your age, whether you have prior related convictions, whether you violated Leandra’s Law and whether you submitted to a breath test, blood or urine test. Fines, jail time, community service, license suspension and/or the enrollment in the Drinking Driving Program and Victim Impact Panel are common penalties imposed by the New York criminal justice system for drug and alcohol convictions.

Finding an experienced attorney in New York State to handle your case can make a huge difference in the severity of your sentence. Should you have questions about DWIs or DWAIs do not hesitate to call the DWI lawyers at Spiegel, Brown and Fichera, LLP who have defended DWI and DWAI cases throughout the Hudson Valley and will evaluate your case free of charge.