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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accident sceneA 30 year old pregnant woman died in a NYC crash and a teenage girl is in a coma with serious spine injury that may prevent her from walking again. On Saturday morning, 30 year old Jennifer Parisella, a farmer from Middeltown was on her way to a farmers market in the city when she rear ended a tractor-trailer on the Major Deegan Expressway near Brook Avenue around 7:00 am. The young woman who was five months into the pregnancy of her first child died at the scene of the accident.  Her two stepchildren, 14 year old Sky Mendoza and 12 year old Orlando Mendoza were also in the van. They were sitting on the back seat. A 28 year old man who was a relative of the family was in the front passenger seat. Sky Mendoza suffered critical brain and spine injury. She is still in a coma and she might never walk again. Orlando suffered a broken collarbone and the 28 year old man injured his leg.

The police are still investigating the reason of the crash. The 42 year old truck driver stayed at the scene of the accident. He wasn’t charged.

Read more in the New York Post 

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Dusk and Darness Accident PreventionThe NYPD announced last week that A NYC pedestrian died from his injuries the day after an accident that occurred in the Bronx on November 7th around 6:30 pm.  52 year old Alvaro Gutierrez was crossing Southern  Boulevard at Elsmere Place when he was struck by a minivan.  Gutierrez who was hit in the crosswalk, flew in the air and landed on the roadway. He was transported to the hospital where he died the following day. The minivan driver wasn’t charged.

Winter is the worst season for pedestrians

Statistics show that, in New York, after daylight saving time ends, pedestrian accidents increase dramatically, especially during evening hours. The months of November to March are the deadliest for New York pedestrians. To boost awareness about this situation and encourage drivers to drive safely the city has been deploying its ‘Dusk And Darkness’ Vision Zero Safety Initiative for the third consecutive year.

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private garbage truck involved in New york fatal bicycle accident43 people have been killed in private garbage truck accidents in New York City since 2010. Barreling down the streets of New York City  with little to no respect for road regulations and for their surroundings, trash haulers gone rogue have become death threats on wheels for pedestrians and cyclists.  Running red lights, driving in reverse on one-way streets, speeding, drinking behind the wheel, New York commercial garbage truck drivers are involved in three times mores accidents than their peers in Los Angeles, Seattle or San Francisco according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Drivers are complaining that they are pushed to cut corners by their bosses who are assigning them routes that are too long to finish in the assigned time but New Yorkers have had enough of their dangerous behaviors.  Many have documented their erratic and dangerous behaviors on social media.

One week crack down

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Gotham residential construction siteIn June 2018 two construction workers were seriously injured in a mini crane accident in New York because of the negligence of their supervisors. These supervisors were indicted last week for their reckless behavior. They face second degree assault and reckless endangerment.

The accident occurred on June 25th at a Harlem construction site located on East 126th Street near Lexington Avenue. Workers hired by Western Waterproofing were installing a facade for a building made of stainless steel and giant glass panels. To help them install the panels, 41 year old Timothy Braico, a senior branch manager, rented a mini crane that was installed on the fourth floor of the building. None of the workers in the team had proper training to use the crane and no one knew how to proprely set it up. After the crane was installed without an approved DOB engineering plan specifying crane use and tethering, the site supervisor, 39 year old Terrence Edwards, ordered an untrained iron-worker to operate the crane.  The crane maximum load was 880 pounds. As workers were hoisting a 1500-pound glass panel onto the facade of the building, the crane toppled and crashed to the ground.  39 year old Christopher Jackson, was ejected in the air and fell 3-story to the ground. He suffered traumatic brain injury that affected his capacity to talk and walk.  Another worker, 37 year old Jorge Delgado was struck in the back and suffered severe spinal injury that affected his mobility.

In New York, construction sites using mini cranes have to follow specific procedures in order to legally use them. A permit application that includes detailed plans as well as the proof that the contractor hired a certified operator and certified rigging crew must be submitted to the DOB in order to use a mini crane.

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OSHA logoTo better protect construction workers from dangerous crane accidents, OSHA recently released a final rule on crane operator certification requirements.  The new rule makes employers responsible for the training and evaluation of their crane operators. Employers are also responsible for documenting the successful completion of the evaluations. Crane operators need to be certified and licensed to work on a construction site and must receive ongoing training if they need to use new equipment.  While the previous 2010 rule on crane operators required operators to be certified on lifting capacity, the new rule indicates that operators can now be certified based on the crane’s type and capacity, or type only.

The final rule will become effective on December 9th 2018 however employers will have until February 7 2019 to comply with the evaluation and documentation requirements.

Read the OSHA press release 

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regulatory robotAny company involved in the manufacturing of a product can be the subject to a product liability lawsuit if the product is defective and caused harm to a consumer. To protect consumers,  companies that are involved in product manufacturing have to make sure that they comply with the federal product safety requirements related to their product. While big corporate have their own legal department dealing with all these requirements, small business  most of the time don’t. In order to help them, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) just relaunched an improved version of a Regulatory Robot tool which can be found online or downloaded as smart phone app. After answering a few questions small businesses are provided a customized report of product safety information related to their product.

The new Regulatory Robot is much more efficient than its previous version according to the CPSC. While in the past small businesses had to answer 15 to 20 questions to get information, now most of them only need to answer 3 questions.

The Robot also speaks Chinese as well as some Spanish, Vietnamese and Indonesian.

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Five people were injured in a manhole explosion in the Bronx, NYC, last Friday night. A manhole located on Saint Ann’s Avenue near East 156th Street exploded under a parked car. 3 civilians and 2 police officers were injured by flying debris during the explosion. The civilians were treated at the scene of the accident while the two police officers were transported to the hospital to be treated.

Con Edison crews were still making repairs yesterday working to fix underground wires in a narrow area of  Saint Ann’s Avenue.

Manhole explosions can be very dangerous in a busy city like New York. In such explosion the cast iron cover that can weight between 85 and 300 pounds is sometimes propelled into the air from 1 foot to 50 feet depending on the intensity of the explosion. Manhole explosions often occur during the spring because all the salt used to make the roads safer is corroding the underground cables. However other factors such as aging, overload or rat biting can also damage the cables insulation. When the cable insulation is damaged, wires start to touch each others creating heat to the point that the insulation catches on fire and releases gas. The pressure from the gas then builds up inside the manhole. The defective electrical wires can then ignite the gas and cause a potential explosion.

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pedestrianSix NYC pedestrians were killed after being hit by cars in six different accidents in Queens over the last 10 days.

On Sunday night around 6:30 pm, a 29 year old man was killed by a hit and run driver on Continental Avenue near Exeter Street in Forest Hill. Niklas Ahern from Tribeca was walking next to a female friend on Continental Avenue when a grey or silver four door sedan struck Niklas and sped off in the night leaving the young man unconscious lying on the street with trauma all over his body. The driver was found by the police on Monday. 28 year old Irving Duran was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash. Read more in the NY Daily News

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSbIyGfb0Lc

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Home FireA woman and her dog died in a residential fire in New York City at the beginning of last week.  47 year old Dawn Greig had just borrowed a space heater from her sister Denise. Greig who lived in a two-story home on Beach 95th Street in Rockaway Beach previously told her sister that since Sandy the building’s boiler hadn’t been working proprely and she didn’t get any heat. Her sister who had a couple of  space heaters in her own house offered her one.

On Monday morning around 5:00 am, Denise who lived in a house on the same lot stopped at her sister’s place for a quick chat before heading to work. At that time everything seemed ok. The fire erupted 3 hours later. When the firefighters arrived they found Dawn unconscious on the second floor. She was rushed to the hospital but she didn’t survive. He dog also perished in the flames. The borrowed heater was found melted by the FDNY (Read more about it in the NY Daily News).

Portable heaters are responsible for an average 12,000 fires every year in the US

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From 2008 to 2016 the rate of  fatal construction accidents at small construction employers in the US grew by 57% while during the same period it decreased by 30% at construction companies employing more than 20 employees. 37% of the construction workforce is hired by small contractors but they account for 67.2% of all fatalities according to a recent report published by the Center for Construction Research and Training.

The construction industry in the US is mostly made of small businesses with 1 to 9 employees. According to 2016 statistics, 82% of payroll establishments in the construction industry had fewer than 10 employees and 9% had between 10 and 19 employees. Which means only 9% of employers are big companies. Big companies usually have better health and safety programs than small construction companies that sometimes struggle with increased competition and  have limited resources.

The major causes of fatalities in the construction industry continue to be what OSHA calls the “Construction Focus Four”: