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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burn injuries suffered by Claudette in the botched chemistry experiment18 year old Claudette Joseph and another female student suffered severe burn injuries in a botched chemistry experiment that occurred in October 2018 at the Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies High School for Violin and Dance located in the Bronx, NYC. Our partner Jeffrey Bloom is representing Claudette and recently filed a lawsuit on her behalf.

Claudette was burned in an accident similar to the one suffered by Alonso Yanes, another client from our firm who was represented by Ben Rubionowitz ( read more about this personal injury case). She was part of a group of students attending a so-called “Carbon Snake Experiment”. The experiment consists in burning sugar and baking soda together. As the sugar and the baking soda burn and decompose, carbon dioxide gets trapped within the carbon and creates gas pockets that extend longer and longer like a black snake. Students were gathered around Eric Broussard, the teacher  to look at the experiment. Despite a recent CSB_Back_to_School_Safety_Alert  asking chemistry teachers to use only small quantities of flammable chemicals during experiments, the teacher used a bottle of rubbing alcohol for the experiment. Vapors came out of the opened bottle and ignited in a fireball that severely burned Claudette and another student on their face, torso and hands.

Both students were rushed to the hospital to be treated. Claudette suffered second degrees burns that have left her with permanent scars. The young woman who is an accomplished violonist  is still traumatized by the horrific accident. “This has been extremely traumatic for her and her family,” Jeffrey Bloom told The Post. “Every time she sees these scars, she is reminded of what happened that day.”

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Despite an increase in bicycle accident fatalities and in motorist injuries the total number of NYC motor vehicle accidents and the total number of resulting injuries and deaths decreased during the third trimester of 2019 compared to the third trimester of 2018. The total number of accidents declined from 57,642 during the third trimester of 2018 to 52,567 during the third trimester of 2019. This is the lowest number of crashes since the same period of 2014.

auto accident NYC third trimester 2019
While a high number of fatal bicycle accidents painted a very negative picture of New York street safety, not all numbers are bad. For example pedestrians fatalities were at their lowest during the period of July, August and September 2019. Motorists fatalities were lower than the two previous years during this same period and passengers fatalities were stable.

traffic fatalities in NYC third trimester
The total number of auto accident related injuries were slightly lower than the previous year. A total of 167,083 people were injured in traffic accidents during over the summer 2019 compared to respectively 16,300, 15,860, 16,048, 13,998, 13,472, and 14,900 during the same 3 months of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Motorists injuries account for almost half of the injuries and continue to increase. While efforts to protect pedestrians has led to a substantial decrease in pedestrian injuries and deaths, distracted driving remains the number one cause of  motor vehicle accidents in New York City and needs to be addressed.

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Operating-roomThis week, both Northwell Health of New York and Massachusetts General Hospital agreed to pay millions of dollars to settle medical malpractice cases related to concurrent surgery. Double-booked surgery also called simultaneous surgery or concurrent surgery is a recently new practice implemented by hospitals all over the country during which a surgeon is involved in two or more surgeries in different operating rooms at the same time.  While some medical studies have been backing this practice other studies have pointed out the resulting complications and inherent safety risks to patients. Last year in their Trial Advocacy Column in the New York Law Journal, Ben Rubinowitz and and Evan Torgan raised the alarm about this practice.

Deadly negligence and fraud

The case settled by Northwell Health of New York claimed that Dr David Samadi, urologist at Lenox Hill Hospital who raised to fame after performing several prostate surgeries on celebrities was allowing urologist residents to perform conventional surgical procedures in a room while performing high risk complex robot-assisted surgeries in another room. The surgeon would shuttle back and forth between the operating rooms during the simultaneous procedures.  The  hospital would then bill Medicare for the procedures performed by the unsupervised trainees. The practice of upping Dr Samadi’s salary for referring more patients to Medicare is illegal. It violates the federal Stark Law.  Dr Samadi was one of the highest paid surgeon in the US. In 2017 his salary was estimated at $6.8 million. Several patients died after undergoing surgery with him and many others suffered post surgery complications.

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Personal Injury Attorney Ben RubinowitzOur managing partner, Ben Rubinowitz, will be a panelist at the “Expert Witnesses” CLE program presented by the Federal Bar Council in New York on December 5th.

Expert witnesses are at the center of modern litigation of all kinds, from personal injury litigation, complex commercial cases to mass torts and white collar crime. This program will cover Daubert motions and other limitations on expert testimony, best practices for drafting expert reports, tips on how to effectively present complex expert testimony to a jury, and strategies for cross-examining experts. The panel will also discuss innovations that may improve expert practice in the federal courts.

Ben will be part of of a group of 5 panelists that includes Jonathan P. Bach, Esq. from Shapiro Arato Bach LLP, Sheila S. Boston, Esq. from Arnold & Porter, Mark R. Seiden, Esq. from Jones Day as well as Professor Daniel J. Capra,  Reed Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law and Reporter for the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Evidence. The judicial moderator of the program will be The Honorable Colleen McMahon, Chief U.S. District Judge, Southern District of New York.

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location of the bicycle and dump truck accidentA 25 year old cyclist was killed by a garbage truck in New York early Sunday morning. Matt Travis is the 28th person to die in a bicycle accident in New York City this year. Matt was riding South on the Willis Ave Bridge bike path when a dump truck made an illegal U-turn to get on the bridge from a service road (technically 1st Avenue, see map) and fatally struck him. The driver then fled the scene of the accident. The police indicated that they are looking for him but they haven’t released any information yet.

Matt was found by the police lying on the street with severe trauma. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Matt Travis was a rising star pro wrestler and a student at the House of Glorty Wrestling School in Queens. He was recently interviewed by Vice magazine about his passion. Friends and fans have been posting tributes to the young man on social media and at the location of the accident.

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Our Partner, NY personal injury attorney Christopher J. Donadio has been invited by the New  York Medical Malpractice Attorney Christopher_DonadioCounty Lawyers Association to lecture at a continuing legal education event titled “From Voir Dire to Verdict: Trying a Personal Injury Case” which will be held on Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 6:00pm at the New York County Lawyers Association office at 14 Vesey Street, New York, New York. Mr. Donadio has been asked to provide a plaintiff’s attorney’s approach to all aspects of a personal injury trial.

In addition to Mr. Donadio, the event will also include a defense attorney’s approach to personal injury trials, provided by Alecia Walters-Hinds of Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, as well as the perspectives of the Honorable Kathryn E. Freed and the Honorable Louis L. Nock, judges in the New York State Supreme Court, New York County.

Please click on the following link to register for the lecture: https://www.nycla.org/NYCLA/Events/Event_Display.aspx?EventKey=CLE111419

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Nita BoardFor more than 50 years the National Institute For Trial Advocacy has taught advocacy skills to lawyers both nationally and internationally.  As a 501(c)(3) NITA is a organization composed of a network of lawyers, judges and advocates who volunteer their time and energy to those lawyers who are interested in refining their advocacy skills. At NITA lawyers have the opportunity to learn from skilled advocates without the stress of learning at their client’s expense. 
 
This year Ben Rubinowitz, a partner in the New York City law firm Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is serving as Chair of the Board of Trustees of NITA. “I am honored to serve as the Board Chair of NITA. As one who came up through the ranks — starting as a student , then teacher, then Program Director — I can state unequivocally that NITA is, by far, the best training a trial advocate can have. Each year NITA trains thousands of lawyers. And many of the judges before whom I practice have told me that they can recognize those lawyers who have been trained by NITA.” 
 
NITA believes in a fair, ethical and impartial adversarial justice system. The training and development at NITA promotes the development of skilled and ethical advocates who work to improve the administration of justice worldwide.
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Donna Strum was fatally struck by a cyclistOn April 24th, 41 year old Dameon Doward was riding his bike on 57th Street.  He ran a red light at the mid-block traffic signal between Fifth and Sixth Ave and struck Donna Sturm who was crossing the street in the crosswalk after the light turned green for pedestrians. Sturm died two week later from her injuries. Daemon Doward  was initially issued a summons for running the red light. However, he was arrested yesterday by the police and charged with second degree reckless endangerment, a top level misdemeanor that could send him in jail for a year.

Doward was delivering food at the time of the accident. Those who hire bicyclists for deliveries of their products need to provide safety instructions, appropriate supervision and insurance coverage in the event of negligence leading to injuries and deaths.

Our managing partner, Ben Rubinowitz is representing the family of Dona Sturm and the following statement was issued after her death on behalf of the family:  “Donna Sturm was a vibrant, energetic and wonderful woman who died as a result of carelessness and negligence. She died because a bicyclist completely disregarded the law. She was crossing a street, in the crosswalk, with the light in her favor when she was struck. Unfortunately, she suffered horrific head injuries and, although the doctors tried their best over the last week, they were unable to save her life,”

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Bicycle HelmetWearing a helmet can reduce injuries in bicycle accidents however street safety advocates argue that making bicycle helmet use mandatory lead to a reduction of the number of people using bicycles and as an unintended consequence the streets would become less safe for cyclists.

On Wednesday mayor de Blasio told media that by recommending making bike helmet use mandatory in all 50 states, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSFB) was “pushing us in the right direction”

However street safety advocates such as Transportation Alternatives as well as some of the NTSB staff  members argue that mandatory helmets lead to a reduction in the number of people using bikes and lead to the “unintended consequences” of city officials doing less to make cycling safe because they have less pressure.

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Bed sleeper12 children died in the US after parents used a bed sleeper. Bed sleepers seem to be a convenient solution for parents who want to be close to their babies at night and especially for mothers during nighttime breastfeeding. However a recent article from Consumer Reports indicates that because there are no federal safety standards regulations for this category of products, they might not be safe. Some of them do feature dangerous features for young babies such as padding and soft surfaces that can lead to suffocation if the baby’s face comes in contact with them. The 12 deaths recorded between 2012 and 2018 were related to the following models:

  • The Baby Delight Snuggle Nest Infant Sleeper is responsible for the deaths of 3 children.
  • 2 children died while they were sleeping in the The SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper