Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf 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.
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As medical technologies are getting increasingly sophisticated so do the risks for hospital negligence and medical malpractice. The ECRI Institute recently released its 2016_Top_10_Hospital_C-Suite_Watch_List and going through this list almost feels like reading a sci-fi novel. Link to 30 page detailed report on blog.  Here is an overlook of the top 10 new medical technologies that hospitals should put on their watch list:

  1. Mobile Stroke Units are high tech ambulances specially outfitted with equipment allowing patients to be diagnosed and if necessary treated directly at their home by a specifically trained staff.  The units are also equipped with telemedecine technology that allows the mobile staff to communicate directly with remote clinical personnel. Strokes are a leading cause of death and traumatic brain injury. Timing is crucial and a reduction of time between the diagnosis and the treatment can save lives and reduce severe injuries.
  2. Medical Device Cybersecurity is a major risk to patients that hospitals have been so far unable to fully control. Medical devices such as a pace-maker or infusion pump are connected through a wire or wifi  to the Electronic Health Record of a patient. These devices can often be too easily hacked. Thieves can then use the personal data for identity theft or to invade the home of the patient when he or she is in the hospital.  In other cases it may even be a murder weapon. Dick Cheney’s doctor had the wifi disabled on his pace-maker due to fear he may be hacked to be assassinated.
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Falls are the number one cause of fatal construction accidents. Every year in America, more than 10,000 hard hats suffer serious personal injury  and more than 200 died because they fell while working on a construction site.  In 2012 a coalition of government, labor and management representatives launched a yearly campaign to raise awareness about this issue. This year, the campaign which consists in a National Stand Down will take place from May 2nd to May 6th.  On that day, OSHA is asking employers that hire construction workers to take the time to stand down and conduct a fall prevention workshop or other activity related to fall prevention with their employees. OSHA is providing interested employers with toolboxes to help them discuss specific fall prevention subjects such as ladder safety, scaffold safety or fall protection equipment.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) recently released a detailed report about the Safety Stand Downs conducted in 2014 and 2015. The reports shows that the campaign reached around 2 million workers over the last two years. Stand-downs were mostly organized by commercial construction companies but also by highway, governmental and residential companies. Most common activities conducted on stand-down last year included training, equipment inspection and audit as well as toolbox talks. The year before meetings and handing out materials to employees as well as training were the most common activities.

Even though the participation was lower last year, the organizers are hopping to see greater participation this year and to reach out to more construction workers. On February 16th the CPWR will organize a webinar related to this campaign . Leaders from CPWR, NIOSH and OSHA will be discussing last year’s Stand-Down and highlighting the plans for 2016. People interested in attending this webinar can register here.

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Between 2005 and 2015 claims related to people injured in construction accidents related to falling bricks or other debris in New York City have been decreasing by more than half. This decline is mostly related to the city creating stricter and stricter laws to protect New Yorkers from construction accidents.  Among the laws enacted by the city, one them requires the erection of sidewalk sheds to protect pedestrians from falling debris.  According to a recent article in Crains, there are now 9000 sheds all over the city compared to 3,500 in 2003. Some of these sheds can remain for years as some building owners find it cheaper to pay  a fine and keep the shed rather than paying to renovate the facade of their buildings. Some New Yorkers are complaining that the sheds not only cut off sunlight, create a safety hazard and hurt businesses but also accumulate garbage and serve as a shelter for loiterers. The need for sidewalk sheds or overhead protection, as they are also known at active construction sites in New York is critical to the safety of both workers and the public. The comment in the article that, “And developers may not be inclined to spend on nicer sheds because of the growing cost of settling lawsuits brought under New York state Labor Law 240/241, better known as the scaffold law. The statute holds building owners and contractors 100% liable for any gravity-related accident in which they are at least partially at fault,” misses the point. If it were not for these statutes there would be thousands of serious injuries and fatalities each year in NYC, since to cut costs many construction companies mostly on non-union jobs would cut costs and not be inclined to have any sheds. which was the case when the Labor Law was not strictly enforced. With regard to building owners who install sheds rather than performing needed facade renovation work, the City must start to actively track the issuance of shed permits. An owner should not be issued a permit and fail to commence construction within 90 days of issuance. Escalating fines should be levied against the owner for failing to commence construction. Further, the City must start to ease the antiquated process of filing and approving construction permits. Although it is a difficult situation one must remember that Safety comes first.

Read the complete article

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A pedestrian died and another one suffered personal injury after they were struck by a drunk driver in Washington Heights, New York City, early Saturday. The two pedestrians, a man and a woman in their 40ies  were walking on West 181st Street near Amsterdam Avenue when a car crashed into them. The driver, identified as 34 year old Jonathan Segura, was drunk. He had just exited the George Washington Bridge when he lost control of his vehicle and slammed into the pedestrians. He sped off in the night but returned later to the police station to surrender. He was charged with drunk driving, leaving the scene of an accident, vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

Read more in the NY Daily News

 

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A construction worker suffered critical injury in a ladder accident in New York.  The accident happened on a construction site located on W. 17th Street near Sixth Ave in the Flatiron district in Manhattan. The hard hat was standing on a ladder, installing sheet rock on a ceiling frame when the accident happened. The worker who was not wearing a harness fell 50 feet down an elevator shaft and was impaled on steel rebar. The pieces of rebar pierced his abdomen, back, thigh, buttock and groin. Flagrant construction site safety violations are to blame for the accident. According to a primary investigation by the New York City Department of Buildings, the hard hat was not wearing a mandatory security harness. Adding to that, the elevator shaft wasn’t covered and there were no orange safety caps on the top of the rebar. This is the reason it is so important to fight against any changes in Section 240(1) of the New York State Labor Law which hold owners, general contractors and others liable for injures resulting from a lack of safety devices in height related accidents.

The construction site has a history of unsafe working conditions. The owner and developer, 34 17th Street Project LLC, was fined last August for “failure to maintain the building in a code complaint manner” and  unsafe or improper use of elevator or hoisting equipment at the same location. The violation indicated that the hoistway doors wer not secured “causing an immediate hazard that could cause someone to fall down the shaftway”.  In November nothing had changed and 34 17th Street Project LLC was fined for “failing to certify correction of an immediately hazardous violation”.

New Empire Builder Corp, the general contractor who is managing the site also has a history of violations. In 2014 OSHA inspectors responded to a complaint at 286 Spring Street, New York, NY. They found hard hats working in extremely unsafe conditions.  Some workers were standings on scaffolding resting on bricks. A worker was standing 10 feet above ground on a scaffold with no fall safety equipment while raising material on a pulley. Furthermore other workers were at risk of being electrocuted while using an ungrounded electric cement mixer. The contractor was fined  $19,600.

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A taxi struck a pedestrian in Manhattan early yesterday. The accident happened in the Chelsea neighborhood. The 25 year old man was crossing West 15th Street near 10th Avenue when he was hit by the cab. He was transported to the hospital where he was listed in critical condition. According to a witness the impact was so strong that the young man landed on the front right window of the taxi and badly cracked it.  The taxi driver stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged. The police are still investigating the crash. Read more in the NY Daily News.

Pedestrians have a higher risk of being  injured in a New York car accident during the winter months than during the summer months. Recent statistics related to pedestrian injury in New York city show that 1,107 pedestrians were injured in January 2013 and 902 in January 2014. The graph below indicates that since 2013, the monthly number of pedestrians injured in a vehicle accident in NYC was always above 900 during the cold months of October, November, December and January. During the warm months of July and August this number was always below 900. Last year the monthly number of pedestrians injured in a crash was below 900 from February to September included. Even though too many people are still injured on the streets of the city, statistics show a trend of decreasing injuries. The Vision Zero initiative can be somewhat related to this improvement.

nyc pedestrian injuries 2015

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4 construction workers at a construction site in upper Manhattan, NYC were injured in a scaffold accident on Saturday afternoon including two seriously.  The construction accident happened while the workers were “repointing” the facade of a six-story building located on Seanman Ave near Beak Street . The four hard hats were standing on  a scaffold when a cable holding it snapped. The scaffold collapsed and the four men were left hanging in the air, saved by their safety harnesses.  Two of the construction workers suffered serious injury. One of them was struck in the head by the snapping cables. The two others only suffered minor injuries. This accident demonstrates that it is essential that construction workers performing work at heights be provided with fall protection including safety harnesses and lanyards.

Minutes later the FDNY were on location and were able to pull two of the construction workers to safety through the windows. They saved the third one with the help of an aerial ladder and pulled the fourth one onto the the roof with a rope.

The 4 workers were transported to the hospital. The NY Department of Buildings is investigating the accident.  Read more in the NY Daily News 

 

 

 

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A woman suffered critical personal injury after being hit by a car in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NYC early Saturday. The woman who was in her thirties was hailing a cab near Rodney Street and Metropolitan Avenue when she was hit by silver BMW. The driver sped off in the night leaving the woman agonizing in the street. The woman was transported to the hospital. She suffered serious head trauma and was listed in critical condition. The police are still looking for the driver and have released the below surveillance image of the car.

hit and run car

Read more in the Gothamist

 

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Pollak GettoInsurance Companies most often pay the settlements in lawsuits related to negligence, accident, personal injury or fatality. The insurance company will have to evaluate if the claim needs to be legally defended or if an early settlement is more appropriate. The claims adjuster is the person making this decision in an insurance company. In a recent article, Daniel Pollack, a professor at Yeshiva University’s School of Social Work in New York City and Cameron R. Getto, a shareholder with Zausmer, Kaufman, August &
Caldwell, P.C. in Farmington Hills, MI provides a thorough look at the role of claim adjuster and defense counsel in human services litigation. The article focuses on claims that involved human service agencies however the role played by a claims adjuster or defense counsel in a personal injury claim is very similar.

The complete article can be downloaded here

 

 

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PollackChild sexual abuse is the most despicable crime and sadly one of the most underreported crimes. Because there is such a strong public disapproval about this type of crime, if someone is convicted for such a crime but didn’t commit it, it is almost impossible that he or she may be later exonerated. In a recent article, Daniel Pollack, a professor at the School of Social Work at Yeshiva University in New York and Layah Shagalow, a freelance writer, looked at the 181 cases of people exonerated from child sex abuse between 2010 and 2015 and the various reasons why they were overturned. They conclude that being exonerated of this type of crime is almost impossible.

The complete article can be downloaded here