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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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Personal Injury Attorney Ben RubinowitzOur managing partner Ben Rubinowitz will participate as a panelist in the ETHICS & CIVILITY IN THE COURTROOM  webinar presented by New York State Trial Lawyer Institute on August 20 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. This Ethics webinar will inform participants about the importance of courtroom demeanor during trial from the perspective of a trial lawyer engaging the jury hearing a case to the trial judge presiding over the trial and the appellate judge reviewing the record. Our distinguished panel  will discuss several cases, but will focus on one notable case tried by Mr. Rubinowitz in front of Judge Rakower that was subsequently brought up on appeal to a First Department Panel that included Justice Kapnick. This unique and engaging discussion will provide multiple perspectives on how to try a case with zeal, while also being mindful of the bounds of professional responsibility.

For more information or to register click here

 

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simon-cowell-twitterA few days ago, Simon Cowell broke his back in a self inflicted e-bike accident. He broke his back in several places and had to undergo a 6-hour long surgery.  “If you buy an electric trail bike, read the manual before you ride it for the first time,” he tweeted on Sunday night.  Electrical bicycles are becoming more and more popular but how safe are they?  In New York, e-bike and scooters were legalized last March as the coronavirus pandemic hit the city and people were reluctant to use public transportation.

Less expensive than a car and allowing to travel longer distance than a bike, electrical bicycles have become an attractive alternative to public transportation especially during the pandemic. While e-biking is quite a new thing for New Yorkers, it has been a popular mode of transportation in Switzerland for more than 15 years. In 2013, Doctors at the University Department of Emergency Medicine in Bern, the capital of Switzerland published a detailed study on e-bike injuries based on patients admitted at the ER between April 2012 and September 2013. They found that most patients were male with a mean age of 47.5 year old and that most injuries were caused by self inflicted accident. Head and neck injuries were the most common. Among the patients studied, 9 were treated as outpatients, 9 had to be hospitalized, 5 had to be kept in Intensive care unit and 6 had to undergo surgery.

While data about e-bike injury in New York are still limited, a recent study authored by several New York surgeons found that in case of an accident, e-bike users were more likely to suffer internal injuries and more likely to be hospitalized than regular bicycle users. E-bikes were found to be less dangerous than scooters whose users have a higher risk of concussion in case of an accident. The study also found that e-bike injuries were more than three times more likely to involve a pedestrian than regular bicycle injuries or scooter injuries. Another finding was that the risk of injury was particularly high for older people.

 

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skeleton athleteWhile there has been a lot of media and medical attention in regards to traumatic brain injury related to football boxing or other contact sports, there are other sports that have a high risk of TBI.

A recent article in the New York Times looks at traumatic brain injury caused by skeleton, the headfirst Olympic sledding sport. Skeleton is very popular in Canada. In 2010 when Canada hosted the Olympic games, skeleton athletes thought they had a great advantage as they had early access to the track and could train for unlimited time.  Instead many of them are still suffering from the long term consequences of  traumatic brain injuries caused by over training.

Mellissa Hollingsworth was one of the favorite skeleton competitors this year. She recalls taking as many as 11 runs a day on the Whistler track that was specifically built for the Olympic games and was the fastest in the word. At the end of a training day, her brain was scrambled. She could not tolerate noises and she could barely speak. At the time, skeleton athletes were experiencing mental fog, headache, speech inability, loss of appetite and high sensibility to sound. They thought it was part of the training routine like sore muscles or fatigue and just casually called it “sled head”. Now years later they are still suffering from the consequences of over training, repetitive shaking and crashing head first on icy surfaces.

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location of the fatal tractor trailer truck accidentA mother and her two children lost their lives and several other family members suffered personal injury in a truck accident in Upstate NY.

The accident occurred last night around 8:30 pm on the New York State Thruway near Exit 19 for Ulster. A family from Pelham Bay in the Bronx, NYC, was returning home from a trip Upstate in two separate cars: a Honda and a Kia minivan. Both cars were stopped in traffic when a truck rear ended the Honda and swiped the rear end of the Kia. Zulika Salim, a 47 year old mother was sitting on the back seat of the Honda with her two children, 19 year old Justin Gayapersad and 14 year old Chelsea Gayapersad. They all died in the crash. The driver of the Honda, 24 year old Neta Singh and the front seat passenger, 18 year old Singh suffered minor injuries and were transported to a local hospital hospital.  3 other family members who were travelling in the Kia minivan that the truck sideswiped also suffered personal injury. One of them, a 48 year old passenger identified as Ramnarine Singh, was seriously injured and had to be airlifted to a medical center in Albany. Two other passengers, 27 year old Sangeeta Singh and 45 year old Saleema Salim suffered minor injuries and were transported to a local hospital. The driver of the Kia Van, 26 year old Maheshwarnauth Karan declined medical treatment at the scene of the accident.

The truck driver was identified as 61 year old Luc Leblanc from Quebec. According to the police, the truck driver was driving in the right lane when he encountered traffic stopped in front of him. He tried to avoid a collision but the distance between the truck and the stopped cars was too short for the truck to stop and he rear-ended the Honda. He was not injured in the accident and so far he has not been charged by the police.

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the victim posted a picture of her car on IGA woman standing next to her car was fatally hit by a tractor trailer truck in NYC last week. 27 year old Keara Rosa had just purchased a used car two weeks before with some cash that she had been saving. She was very proud of her purchase and posted a picture of the new car on Instagram and commented “HARD WORK PAYS OFF , Thank you god”. Last Wednesday around 12:15 she was driving her car on the  Cross Bronx Expressway  near Southern Boulevard when something went wrong with it. She pulled over onto the shoulder and got out of her car. As she was standing next to her car, a massive truck crashed into it, pinning Keara between the car and the wall of the expressway and killing her.

The out of control truck hit several cars injuring two before fatally crashing into Keara’s car

According to the police, the 55 year-old truck driver was driving in the right lane of the 3-lane Bronx Expressway when he swerved to the left to avoid slow traffic ahead of him. As he was doing so, he  lost control of his truck and hit 3 cars: a Toyota Corolla driven by a 51 year-old man, a Toyota Camry driven by a 29 year-old woman and a Lexus driven by a 58 year old woman. After hitting the 3 cars, the truck swiped the concrete divider in the middle of the highway.  It then swerved back to the right side crashing into Keara’s car and killing her.

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37 motorists died in car accidents in New York City during the first semester of 2020 compared to respectively 26, 26, 25, 31, 30, 23 and 29 during the first semester of 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  This record number of motorist fatalities occurred over a period of 6 months during which most New Yorkers stayed at home between the end of March and the end of June to comply with the Covid-19 lock-down order. Most of these fatalities indeed occurred during the lock-down. Among the 37 motorists who died in crashes, 10 died between January and March and 27 died between April and June. Empty streets and roadways  lead to all kinds of reckless driving behavior and many of the deaths recorded during the lock-down were related to speed and drag racing.

NYC motorist deaths 1st semester 2020
While motorist fatalities were at a record high, pedestrian fatalities reached a record low. Bicycle accident fatalities were lower and passenger deaths stayed almost the same during the first semester of 2020 than during the first semester of 2019. Globally a total of 92 people died in traffic accidents during the first semester of 2019 compared to respectively 101, 84, 96, 107, 107, 97 and 121 during the first six months of 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

YC traffic deaths by road users first semester 2020
Motor vehicle accident injuries reached a record low during the first six months of the year. Motorists and passengers accounted for more than two thirds of them.

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nursing home abuseVictims of nursing home abuse , hospital neglect or medical malpractice in New York State not related to Covid-19 can legally hold healthcare professionals responsible for their negligence again.

Yesterday, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a law that rolls back the legal immunity that nursing homes and hospitals were granted during the coronavirus crisis

Since yesterday these institutions can again be held liable in criminal prosecutions and lawsuits.

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location of the building collapseBuildings continue to collapse like  card castles in New York City.  The facade of a building located at 204 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg came crashing down on the sidewalk yesterday afternoon around 12;45 pm. Luckily nobody was injured in the collapse as the building was vacant at the time of the accident and nobody was in the street because of the heavy rain caused by the tropical Storm Isaias.  There was only damage to the cars parked in the vicinity of the building as falling debris poured onto the street. Residents of adjacent buildings were  evacuated. The DOB issued a fully vacate order to the building located next door at 206 Bedford Avenue while inspectors are still figuring out the causes of the partial structural building collapse.

The  building that collapsed had not logged any complaints since 2003 when a complaint for loud noise related to illegal construction after hours was filed.  2 violations were opened by the DOB after the collapse  for “structure rendered non-compliant after front facade and 3rd floor collapsed”.

The Brooklyn building collapse followed a series of  other building collapses in New York City:

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New York Governor Andrew CuomoVictims of  Child Sexual Abuse in New York have been granted an extra year to file a lawsuit against their offenders independently of when the crime was committed.  In February 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the New York Child Victim Act that allows victims of child sexual abuse in New York State to bring a civil claim against their abuser and institution until they turn 55 year old. Victims of child sexual abuse who were older than 55 year old when the Child Victim Act was passed were offered a one year “look-back window” to file a lawsuit against their aggressor and their institution independently of their age and when the abuse occurred.  As the coronarvirus crisis hit the US, the State of New York went into a lock-down period between March and June. All activities slowed down and Court services were limited to essential proceedings.  To make sure all child victims of sexual abuse were provided enough time to bring a civil lawsuit against their abuser, Andrew Cuomo  previously extended the look back window to January 14 202 1 on May 8. (see previous blog). However New York lawmakers felt that the January deadline was not giving enough time to victims to seek compensation and last June they unanimously agreed and signed a bill to extend the look-back window to August 14 2021. The bill was signed yesterday by Andrew Cuomo. “As New York continues to reopen and recover from a public health crisis, extending the look back window is the right thing to do and will help ensure that abusers and those who enabled them are held accountable” Governor Cuomo said.

Since the Child Victim Acts was signed on February 14 2019, more than 3000 victims of child sexual abuse came forward and filed a lawsuit against their abuser as well as the institution that allowed the abuse to happen

A large bulk of the lawsuits were filed against various New York dioceses of the Catholic Church. New York Public Schools and other children institutions such as scouts and camps have also been been sued.

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A catholic priest from New York City has been arrested after sharing pornographic material with a 15-year-old boy. Rev Francis Hughes was arrested yesterday morning by the FBI after he allegedly shared sexually explicit text messages and pictures with a teenager from Westchester. The FBI found half a dozen pictures that the priest and the boy exchanged since last February. The FBI also indicated that they connected several times on “Grindr”, a dating app for gay, bi and trans people. The priest asked the teen “How would you like to be spoiled by your grandpa?” and suggested to make the relationship “a regular thing”.

The 65 year old priest told the FBI that he knew that the boy was underage. He also admitted that he previously met a teen boy on school ground in Queens and had sex with him. He also tried multiple times to have sexual relationships with other boys.

Father Francis Hughes was removed from his post of pastor at the St. Pancras Roman Catholic Church in Glendale, Queens.