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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 Rubinowitz gala honoree
Congratulations to our managing partner Ben Rubinowitz for being among the 50 alumni who will be inducted to the Hofstra Law Hall of Fame as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the  Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University.  Ben and 49 other alumni as well as 15 distinguished alumni on the bench will be recognized at the Law School’s 50th anniversary gala on April 5, 2022, at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Recognized as a top trial attorney nationally, Ben graduated from  Hofstra Law and started his career as a prosecutor where where he honed the trial skills that would become his hallmark. He joined the Personal Injury Law Firm of Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf  and throughout his 30-year legal career he made his mark as a leading trial lawyer devoting his career to helping those in need. Results speak for themselves as through his hard work, meticulous trial preparation and his outstanding courtroom skills and presence, Ben has obtained 200 verdicts and settlements in excess of one million dollars. Among the most recent outstanding results was the largest pain and suffering award ever affirmed in New York State history by the Appellate Division. This record setting award was based on a $60 Million jury award in which a 16 year old student was severely burned in his Chemistry class when his teacher negligently performed a demonstration in violation of the school’s own science safety manual.

Throughout his brilliant career, Ben received multiple prestigious awards such as the prestigious Prentice Marshall Award and Robert E. Keeton Award for Trial Practice, and was voted “Lawyer of the Year by “Best Lawyers in America” four times. He was also invited to be a member of the Inner Circles of Advocates whose membership is limited to 100 trial lawyers in the country.

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Alonzo Yanes suffered devastating injuriesThe Appellate Division of New York just allowed the largest award for Pain and Suffering ever in New York State History. Although the jury verdict was reduced, the Appeals court allowed $29 million for Pain and Suffering. This award represents an almost 50% increase from the next highest award — $20 million which was a recent decision from the same court.

The case was one that sparked national attention. A 10th grade student, Alonzo Yanes, was severely burned in his 10th grade chemistry class due to the negligence of his teacher Anna Poole and the New York City Board of Education.  The teacher, who had been performing the “rainbow experiment,” failed to take necessary safety precautions to protect the students in her class. In the experiment the teacher was using methanol, a highly flammable substance, and failed to ensure that the students were kept at a safe distance from the demonstration table, failed to provide goggles to the students, failed to ensure there was a fire blanket was in the classroom and conducted the experiment in a classroom which did not have proper ventilation or showers.

Alonzo was burned alive. As the teacher poured the methanol from a gallon jug into a beaker a large  fireball erupted and coated this young student with millions of droplets of burning methanol. Alonzo was screaming in agony —  but because there was no protective equipment in the classroom and no shower or fire blanket he kept burning while a teacher from another classroom finally entered the classroom with a fire blanket to smother the flames.

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the house that went on fire in Long Island5 people died in an apartment fire in Long Island NY last Tuesday night. The fire erupted around 10:40 pm in a century-old house located on East Second Street in Riverhead. The house had 3 apartments with the landlord living in one of them on the ground floor and two other families living on the second and third floor. A total of 10 people lived in the house. 5 of them who were living on the top floor died in the fire. It was a mother with her son and daughter as well as her two nephews.

According to preliminary investigations, the fire might have been started by a cigarette. The fire was discovered by a resident of the second floor who had stepped out to walk his dog. As he was returning home he smelled the smoke and then heard the neighbors screaming “Fire”.

The investigators are still trying to figure out if there were smoke alarms installed in the apartment and if there were, why they didn’t work.

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Cross Bronx ExpresswayHeavy pollution causing asthma to the population, deadly car accidents, no consideration for pedestrians and cyclists and racially biased, the Cross Bronx Expressway is in serious need of a revamp.

Activists who have have been asking for years for the 8-mile highway to be capped have finally been heard. This week, as part of the infrastructure bill,  Transportation Secretary Pete Buttiegieg announced that $2 million will be invested in a study looking at  the negative impacts of the Cross Bronx Expressway by capping it and building parks, investing in electrical vehicle chargers and creating safer options for cyclists and pedestrians.

Originally built and designed by Robert Moses, the Cross Bronx Expressway has not only displaced populations of Black and Latinos and destroyed their businesses but has also became a major health issue for those families of the South Bronx who live nearby.

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injured hand of an elderly patientSadly elder abuse is quite common in the US. It is estimated that 5 to 10% of elders suffer abuse of various types such as physical or psychological abuse, financial exploitation  or neglect. Often those who are abused suffer multiple types of abuse together. Depression, chronic illness hospitalization and placement in nursing homes are often the direct consequences of these abuses. When an elder has little contact with the outside world except for his or her oppressors, the physicians are often the only ones who can determine if abuse occurs and raise the alarm. When physical abuse occurs, elder patients who show up at the emergency room often pretend they fell.  A good emergency physician should be able to differentiate between fall injuries and abuse injuries and raise the alert if necessary.

A recent study  published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine and led by Tony Rosen, Department of Emergency Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College / NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, in New York compares the injuries of 78 elder patients who were physically abused with the injuries of 78 elder patients who unintentionally fell. Here are some of the findings:

  • Bruises could be a sign of abuse. 78% of elders who were physically abused suffered bruises compared to 54% of those who fell
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HyundaiA Hyundai employee who provided key information about a defective engine in vehicles manufactured by the Korean carmaker  was awarded $24 million by the U.S. auto safety regulator. In 2016, Kim Gwang-ho informed the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that his employer, Hyundai was not addressing a design flaw linked to its Theta II engines, which were prone to seizing up and even catching fire. Kim provided an internal report from the quality strategy team to management that their inaction in addressing the engine fault would cause an increase in crashes.

After NHTSA officials received the information, they began an investigation in 2017 and found out that Hyundai and its subsidiary Kia did recall vehicles for this defect but the recall was too late and the information provided about the issue was inaccurate according to them.  In 2020, Hyundai and Kia agreed to pay a record $210 million in civil penalty for delaying the recall of their vehicles after they learned about the defective engine.

Maximum percentage awarded to the whistleblower

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New bike lane will prevent collisions on Brooklyn BridgeAfter several bicycle accidents and multiple close calls between pedestrians and cyclists on the overcrowded Brooklyn Bridge, the DOT finally opened a new protected bike lane mid September. As a result, regular commuters who were avoiding the bridge because of the over crowding are making a massive come back. During the month of October,  there was an average of 4,206 rides daily compared to 2,239 during October 2020.  The daily rate of rides remained high and stable on the Manhattan Bridge and the Williamsburg Bridge suggesting that  more people made the decision to commute by bike now that the Brooklyn bridge has a separate protected bike lane. The Brooklyn bridge provides a direct access between Dumbo in Brooklyn and the financial district where many New Yorkers go to work daily.

Narrow bi-directional protected bike lane can feel crowded and dangerous when traffic is busy

While separating the bike lane from the pedestrians was already a major step in improving bike riding safety on the Brooklyn Bridge, the 8 foot wide two-way bike lane remains extremely tight.  Recommendations from The National Association of Transportation suggest a minimum 12 feet wide for bidirectional bike lanes. With the surge not only in regular bicycles but also in various types of e-bikes, e-scooters and cargo-bikes, it can sometimes be dangerous for people to cross on the 8 feet wide bike lane. Cargo bikes that have been promoted by the city to reduce truck traffic are wider than 4 feet and can create collision risks. Additionally, people on moppeds that are  not supposed to be on bike lanes break the rules and use a considerable amount of space while passing cyclists and create additional risks of accidents on a tight bike lane.  It will also be interesting to see if, now the borders are re-opened, if tourists on bikes decide to use the bridge… the tight lanes do not really allow for a picture stop.

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Professor Daniel PollackWhen considering a civil lawsuit for sexual abuse, it is important for a victim or for the victim’s parents (if the victim is still a minor) to consider beforehand if the lawsuit will have have a net beneficial therapeutic effect or a traumatizing effect.

In a recent commentary in the New York Law Journal, Daniel Pollack a professor at Yeshiva University’s School of Social Work in New York City and  a Commissioner of Game Over, a commission to protect youth athletes, and Daniel F. Monahan, a board-certified trial attorney in Pennsylvania write about the unexpected emotional consequences that a sexual abuse lawsuit can have on the victim.

A traumatizing experience for the victim and the family

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Travis-ScottOur partner, New York Personal Injury Attorney Howard Hershenhorn  talked to Rolling Stone Magazine and the New York Times on behalf of our client Kyle Green who was left partially paralyzed after attending a Travis Scott Concert at Terminal 5 in New York in 2017 (see previous blog).

“Our client, Kyle Green, is devastated and heartbroken for the families of those who were killed and for those individuals who were severely injured. He’s even more incensed by the fact that it could have been avoided had Travis learned his lesson in the past and changed his attitude about inciting people to behave in such a reckless manner,” Hershenhorn said.

Kyle Green was attending a Travis Scott concert in Manhattan when he was pushed over a balcony by a surging crowd. He hit the ground and could not move anymore. Instead of being proprely taken care of by paramedics, Green was picked up by security guards who lifted him up  “without a cervical collar, backboard and other safety precautions” and dragged him toward the stage.

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golf-cart63,501 children and teenagers sustained personal injury in golf cart accidents in the US between 2010 and 2019 according to a recent study lead by Theodore J. Ganley, MD, Director of the Sports Medicine and Performance Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Chair of the AAP Section on Orthopedics.

Golf carts are being used in social events and driven by teenagers as young as 14 year old with minimal supervision

More and more, golf carts are being used outside the golf course for social events such as festivals or recreational use on farm land or community events.