As the President of the Staten Island Trial Lawyers Association , I attended Lobby Day in Albany yesterday to meet with members of the Assembly and Senate to discuss legislation that affects “injured persons”.
Our Association was represented by myself, as well as SITLA members Mike Lasser, Chris Caputo, Bill Barillari, Tim O’Donovan, and Orin Cohen. We were assigned different members of the Assembly and Senate (e.g., Senator Andrew Lanza, Assembly members Cusick, Titone, Borelli, Malliotakis, et. al.).
It was a positive day, especially with respect to the feedback from Assembly Member, Nicole Malliotakis (Republican member of the Assembly who represents the Mid-Island district of Staten Island). Generally, Republican members of the Assembly scoff at legislation involving injured persons and/or any laws that may adversely affect the interests of insurance companies. Ms. Malliotakis represents true leadership insofar as she has taken positions on certain proposed legislation that helps people who have been injured in automobile accidents.
NYSTLA (and SITLA concurs) to propose a law that would allow people to cancel appointments with insurance company doctors if they have a “reasonable” excuse. Currently, injured persons are automatically “denied coverage” if they miss two scheduled appointments with insurance doctors (re: No Fault insurance). Ms. Malliotakis seemed to respond well to our proposed legislation and it seems as though she is becoming a free thinker with respect to choosing what is right for her constituents (versus the usual “protect the insurance industry” mandate).
We also discussed proposed laws such a the “Grieving Families Act” (which would give family members the right to have their own claim in the event that their loved ones died as a result of somebody’s negligence), the “Scaffolding Law” (which protects workers who are injured as a result of a fall from an elevation such as a scaffolding, etc.), and the “Date of Discovery” bill (which would allow victims of medical malpractice to have 2 1/2 years to sue from the date of reason able discovery of the malpractice committed by a doctor or hospital. Additionally, we engaged the legislators in discussion about the “Supplementary Uninsured / Undersinsured” bill, which would mandate that automobile insurance companies must provide consumers with the option raise their their SUM coverage to equal their liability policy limits.
Anther bill include a “Sunshine Bill” which would force insurance carriers who write construction policies to disclose their financial information annually. The point is that they currently are not required to do so, yet make the public assertion that they need to raise rates because they are not making a profit.
Overall, the Staten Island Trial Lawyers was well represented on Lobby Day.