Gair, Gair, Conason, Steigman, Mackauf, Bloom & Rubinowitz is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

April 22, 2014

Starting Thursday, Zero Vison workshops invite New York City residents to discuss traffic safety concerns and help DOT and NYPD in developing plans to reduce the number of people dying or being injured in traffic accidents in their neighborhood

To reduce injuries and fatalities related to traffic accidents in all NYC boroughs, the Vision Zero action plan rests on 4 pillars: Law Enforcement, Legislation, Street Design and Public Dialogue.

Involving the communities from the ground up by listening to their specific safety concerns and have the DOT and NYPD work with them to develop traffic safety plans is an important step in having New Yorkers in every borough embracing and promoting the message that traffic deaths are preventable.

7 Vision Zero Town Halls have already been held in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan and a few more are planned in May and June in the same boroughs as well as in Staten Island.

This week the first Vision Zero Workshop kicks off on April 24th in Plymouth Church at 75 Hicks Street, Brooklyn. Another workshop will be held in Brooklyn on April 29th at the Brooklyn College. Residents of these neighborhoods are invited to these interactive workshops during which they will be invited to voice their concerns and submit proposals to reduce traffic accidents in their community. Participants will join in mapping activities to pinpoint dangerous areas where pedestrian and bicycle accidents are occurring. They will also be invited to take part in small discussion groups moderated by the DOT and NYPD staff.

Download the Flyer for the Brooklyn Vision Zero Workshop

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April 22, 2014

Americans take more than 4 billion bicycle trips and 41 billion walking trips every year

This is part 2 of our series on the Walking and Bicycling Alliance 2014 Benchmarking report. Here are some figures we found interesting about pedestrians and bicyclists' profiles.

Bicycle trips represent 1% of all trips taken in the US every year and walking trips 10.4%. While pedestrians are of all types of age, genders, income and ethnicity, bicyclists are mostly men and younger..

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Most people walk or use their bike for a social or recreational reason however more and more people are using their bikes to go to work especially in large cities where the combined average share of commuters by bicycle and foot is significantly higher at nearly 6.1% (1.0% bicycling and 5.0% walking) compared to an average of 3.4% nationally.

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In the State of New York, 0.5% of commuters bike to work while 6.4% of them walk to work.
In New York City 0.7% of commuters use their bikes while 10,3% of them are walking.

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April 22, 2014

An ambulance took 21 minutes to arrive at a Queens fire that killed two 4 year old children

victims%20of%20fire.jpgThe Fire Department of New York is investigating why it took 21 minutes for an ambulance to get to a fire that broke out in a home in Far Rockaway, Queens last Sunday. The calls arrived in the 911 system at 11:51 am and at 11:56 am the firefighters arrived at the location of the blaze. The firefighters pulled two 4 year old children, Jai’Launi Tinglin and Ayina Tinglin (picture), from the fire and tried to resuscitate them but they were unsuccessful. They were asking: Where is EMS? Where is EMS?

According to the NY Daily News, the ambulance was only dispatched to the fire at 12:05 am, 14 minutes after the 911 call and arrived at the scene at 12:12 am, 21 minutes after the first call to 911.

It is not the first time that glitches happen with New York 911. In June last year, Ariel Russo was struck and killed by a reckless driver on the Upper West Side and glitches with 911 led to a 4 minute delay in the arrival of the ambulance. The Russo family is suing the city for negligence.

April 21, 2014

In a new attack against Labor Law Section 240 (Scaffold Law), the NY construction industry lobby paid more than $80,000 to the Rockefeller Institute to fund a study that misuses sophisticated statistical techniques and produces inaccurate results

scaffold.jpg New York Labor Law Section 240 or Scaffold Law was enacted more than 100 years ago to protect construction workers from elevated work related accidents. It holds general contractors, owners and others liable if unsafe conditions at the job site lead to a worker's injury or death (to learn more about NY Labor Law 240 see recent presentation by NY Construction Accident Attorney Anthony Gair)

The construction industry has been trying to repeal and amend this law since it was created and the last attack came with a report entitled "The Costs of Labor Law 240 on New York’s economy and Public Infrastructure" and published by the The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, the public policy research arm of the State University of New York. The report uses questionable statistic methodologies to blame The Scaffold Law for creating more accidents and more injuries.

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) discovered that the report was actually commissioned by the New York Civil Justice Institute, a front group that was specifically created for this purpose by the Lawsuits Reform Alliance of New York who paid $82,800 for it. The Lawsuits Reform Alliance of New York is well known for lobbying against laws protecting plaintiffs in favor of the construction industry and other corporate interests. The CPD and the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) just published a paper entitled "Fatally Flawed: Why the Rockefeller Institute's Scaffold Law Report Doesn't add up"

Professor Richard W. Hurd, Professor and Associate Dean at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations was also quick to denounce the Rockfeller Institute report. In an article in the Insurance Journal Hurd says the Rockfeller Institute report "misuses sophisticated statistical techniques and produces results that are inaccurate". In his opinion, "they erred particularly in the equations that serve as a foundation for the estimate of increased injuries supposedly caused by the Scaffold Law. Even the basic hypothesis may be flawed; it proposes that liability for injuries associated with the law ‘blunts employer incentives to invest in worker safety.’ This is counter intuitive. If employers are financially liable for injury and death, would they not be more likely to invest in safety? "

Every year in NYC hundreds of construction workers suffer serious personal injury and several of them die on the job. In 2013, all construction fatalities in NYC involved construction workers dying due to lack of adequate fall protection. This month only, two constructions workers fell to their death in Midtown Manhattan and the Department of Building's investigations established that workers were not properly protected against a fall.

Fall is the leading cause of death in the construction industry and construction workers need to be protected. New York, Labor Law section 240 is here for that and safety should not be scarificed for profits.

April 20, 2014

More than three dozen open violations discovered by the NYC Department of Buildings after the fatal fall of a worker at 424 West 33rd Street construction site

After a worker fell to his death at a NYC midtown construction site, the city issued a full stop work order at the site.

The Department of Buildings issued 41 violations including 6 for work without a permit. Other violations included failure to safeguard persons or property; failure to report an accident; no record of daily inspection of suspended scaffold; work doesn't conform to approved plans; failure to provide approved plans; failure to provide guardrails; and failure to provide protection.

When the accident happened, the worker, 34 year old Lukasz Stolarski of Brooklyn, was doing facade restoration work. He wasn't wearing a harness and fell from a ledge he was standing on between the roof and the penthouse. He landed on the top of the sidewalk shed at the 424 West 33rd Street construction site resulting in his death.

Earlier this month another construction site worker fell to his death from scaffolding around the Dream Hotel at 210 W. 55th Street.

Read more in New York ABC News

April 19, 2014

The Alliance for Biking and Walking just released its comprehensive 2014 Benchmarking report

The BICYCLING AND WALKING IN THE UNITED STATES 2014 BENCHMARKING REPORT just came out. This report provides one of the most comprehensive reviews on bicycling and walking all over the US. It is compiled by the Alliance for Biking & Walking which is the North American coalition of over 220 state and local bicycling and walking advocacy organizations.

The Benchmarking report focuses on the 50 States and the 50 most populous American cities. Additionally and for the first time, 17 small and midsize cities were also added to the 2014 report to provide a more complete picture of biking and walking activities in the country.

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Globally the report shows a slow but steady increase of people using their bikes or their feet to go to work. The report also demonstrates that the level of pedestrian and bicycle accidents is inversely proportional to the number of bikers and walkers and that advocacy groups are playing an important role encouraging people to do so.

Alaska, Oregon, Montana, New York, and Vermont have the highest number of commuters biking and walking to work while Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas have the lowest. Public health is globally better in states were more people are biking and walking.

Biking and walking is also much safer now than it was in the past: since 1980 the fatality rate for bicyclists and pedestrians has been dropping however this rate went slightly up recently. Fatal accidents involving a bicyclist or a pedestrian amount for 15% of all fatal traffic accidents in the US but only 2% of federal transportation funding goes toward bicyclist and pedestrian safety related projects. States and local government are doing better in this area as most of them now have a published goal to increase walking and bicycling activities while improving safety for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Because this report is so dense but so interesting we will publish a series of blogs covering each chapter of this report. In a next blog we will look at the level of bicycling and walking in the United Sates with a focus on New York.

The complete report can be found here

April 19, 2014

NYC Zero Vision to reduce traffic fatality and personal injury: After Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn last week, the Grand Concourse in the Bronx will be the second Arterial Slow Zone in the city with speed limited to 25mph

12 people including 7 pedestrians died in auto accidents and many others were injured in speed related crashes along the Bronx Grand Concourse in New York City between 2008 and 2012. Speeding is the main cause of accidents in this dangerous area but this is about to change extremely soon as as officials announced that the the 5.2 miles Bronx corridor will be the second of 25 planned NYC arterial slow zones. The first one was introduced last week on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn.

Starting this month, traffic signals will be synchronized to reduce dangerous speeding, new 25 mph signage will be installed and the NYPD will increase enforcement in this dangerous area of the Bronx.

The arterial slow zone program is one of the 63 measures included in New York Zero Vision Program launched by Mayor de Blasio at the beginning of the year. Throughout the city, arterial roads amount for 15% of the mileage but for 60% of pedestrian fatal accidents.

Read the press release from the NYC Department of Transportation

Read more in Streetblog

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NYPD Chief of Transportation Thomas Chan, Council Member Vanessa Gibson, Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Assembly Member Mark Gjonaj unveil NYC's second “arterial slow zone” . Photo: Stephen Miller, StreetBlog

April 19, 2014

In an effort to prevent pedestrian accidents on the Upper West Side NYPD cops will not issue jaywalking tickets anymore but will teach pedestrians how to respect traffic laws

After several pedestrians died in traffic accidents on the Upper West Side in NYC, the cops have been cracking down on jaywalkers in sensitive areas such as W. 96th street and Broadway (picture). Earlier this year cops in the neighborhood were instructed to give tickets that could go up to $150 to pedestrians caught jaywalking. The cops went after the pedestrians in such an aggressive way that they ended up knocking down and roughing up an 84 year old man who tried to walk away when the cops were issuing him a ticket. The old man hired a personal injury lawyer who is now suing the city for $5 million.

Last week NYPD Commissioner Bratton told cops to use discretion with the elderly and handicapped and Marion Larin the Captain of the UWS 24th precinct replaced the ticket blitz by an information blitz campaign during which officers will teach jaywalkers to follow the law in order to protect themselves from dangerous traffic accidents.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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Photo credit: Simone Weichselbaum for New York Daily News

April 17, 2014

Young female pedestrian dies after being struck by two yellow cabs in Uptown Manhattan

Kelly.jpgAnother pedestrian fatality happened last weekend in New York. A 22 year old woman who was crossing York Ave on the Upper East Side of New York was struck by cab that threw her in the opposite traffic lane where a second cab struck her. She was rushed to the hospital where she died. Read more in the New York Daily News

According to NYC Crash mapper over the last 31 months there were 21 collisions at the location of the accident (EAST 84 STREET and YORK AVENUE). As a results of these collisions 3 pedestrians, 1 bicyclist and 1 motorist suffered personal injury. According to locals, the visibility is limited for pedestrians and drivers as York Ave crests at 84th street and declines to 85th street.


April 17, 2014

Young man suffers severe personal injury in Brooklyn car accident

A 32 year old man was critically injured in a bizarre car accident in Brooklyn, NYC, last night. The man was driving in the wrong direction on the road and while he attempted to make a left turn his car overturned.

Read more in the New York Daily News

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PHOTO:DANNY IUDICI/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS