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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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A SUV driver struck a pedestrian in Brooklyn, NYC, and while he remained at the scene of the accident, the pedestrian who was hit, vanished from the accident scene. When EMS arrived, they looked for him but could not find him. The accident occurred in Bath Beach. The SUV driver was making a right turn from Bath Avenue onto Bay Parkway when he struck the pedestrian. He remained at the scene of the accident and was not charged. The next day, the police were called for someone injured in a house and found the 52 year old pedestrian dead in his apartment. They found out that the pedestrian stumbled home and suffered a massive head injury that killed him.  Read more in the NY Daily News

While still on a declining trendline, over the past 8 years, NYC pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise this year compared to the previous years. 66 pedestrians died between January 1st and July 31st this year compared to 57 during the same period of last year and 57 during the same period of 2018.

Spike of pedestrian fatalities in New York City

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Bronx intersection where the MTA bus accident occurredA pedestrian crossing the street in the Bronx was fatally struck by a MTA bus last night around 8:30 pm. The bus driver was making a left turn at the intersection of Johnson Avenue and Kappock Street in New York City, when he struck a 68 year old woman whose identity has not been revealed by the police.

The victim was run over by the rear wheels of the bus and died at the scene of the accident.

The tragedy occurred in a residential area of Spuyten Duyvil where bus drivers should expect pedestrians and drive cautiously. According to officials, the driver has been withheld from further service and will have to take a fitness for duty test. (Read more in the NY Daily News

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A defective moped lithium battery is at the origin of a fire that killed 9 year old Remi Fernandez in his new apartment in Queens. Remi had just moved with his parents into a new apartment located on 102nd Road near 84th Street in  Ozone Park, Queens, when a fire that was sparked by the battery of a moped charging in the apartment erupted around 2:00 am while the family was sleeping. Remi’s father suffered burn injuries as he was trying to rescue his little boy from their basement apartment. The apartment where the family had just moved in had no smoke alarm. The basement had been illegally converted into an apartment.  The rest of the building was deemed unsafe by the Department of Buildings and all residents had to be evacuated. 10 other people including a firefighter were injured and transported to the hospital to be treated.

55 fires caused by defective lithium ion batteries over the last 12 months in New York City

Fire caused by defective lithium-ion batteries are on the rise in New York City. According to the NY Daily News, there were 55 fires caused by these types of batteries in New York City between August 1st 2020 and August 1st 2021 compared to 22 for the same period a year earlier.  Sadly Remi is not the first victim to die in one of these fires. Last May in the Bronx, a 91 year old woman died and 11 people were injured in a fire sparked by a defective lithium battery in the third floor apartment of a six-story building in the Bronx. Earlier in January, a   scooter charging in the living room of a Bronx apartment was at the origin of another fire that killed one and injured 12 others.

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8 pedestrians, 3 cyclists, 4 motor vehicle passengers, and 13 motor vehicle drivers died in auto accidents in New York City during the month of July. Usually, monthly pedestrian deaths account for the largest share of the road fatalities in New York City but since the pandemic started, monthly motorist deaths often account for the biggest part of the motor vehicle accident fatalities in the city. As a result of this increase in motorist fatalities, since the end of the lockdown, the number of auto deaths was above 20 for 9 months out of 14. As a comparison, in 2019, it was above 20 only twice during the entire year and in 2018, only once during the entire year. Speed and recklessness have been a factor in many of these deaths as well as an increased amount of New Yorkers travelling by car instead of public transportation because of Covid19 fears.

Car accident deaths by road users in New York July 21
NYC traffic accident deaths in the month of July reached their highest since July 2014 with 28 fatalities. Since June last year, road fatalities have been out of control in New York City. For the 4th consecutive month, auto accident fatalities remained above 20 and significantly above the trendline. These high numbers of fatalities had not been seen since 2013 before Vision Zero started.

Auto accident deaths NYC July 2021

Traffic accident injuries lower than before the pandemic

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Brooklyn location of the deadly pedestrian accidentA 6 year old pedestrian was killed by a reckless driver in New York City yesterday afternoon.

Little Hiromi Tami was crossing the street with her mother near the  intersection of 12th Avenue and 67th Street in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn when 30 old year old Qiuhua Zhu sped into oncoming traffic, blew a red light and slammed into the little girl. He then  sped away, circled the block, came back and was arrested by the police. All 3 of them were living in the neighborhood where the accident took place.

Mother devastated by the accident

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A total of 5 construction workers lost their life on the job in New York City between April 1st and June 31st . Since 2015, this is only the second time that construction fatalities recorded by the NYC Department of Buildings during the second quarter reached such a high number. The other time was in 2019. 2 fatalities occurred in Brooklyn, one in Manhattan, one in the Bronx and one in Queens. 3 of the fatalities were falls and two were related to mechanical construction equipment. The last two weeks of May were particularly deadly. On May 19th, at around 8:20 am, two workers were cleaning debris on the 5th floor of a construction site located at 20 Bruckner Boulevard in the Bronx. They loaded a new elevator car with the debris, got in the car with the debris and proceeded to head downstairs. The elevator had a mechanical failure and the car fell from the fifth floor. One of the workers was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident and the second was injured and transported to the hospital. Three days later in Queens, a deadly accident occurred when two workers were instructed to use an extension ladder from the sixth floor chimney shaft to the roof. One of the workers said he heard a “crush sound” as he was at the second or third step of the ladder and turned around, he didn’t see anything so he kept going and took the ladder by himself to the roof. His colleague was found dead almost two hours later on the second floor. He had fell in an elevator shaft. 5 days later on May 27th, a hard hat who was working on a roof during a demolition job, fell to his death at a construction site located at 1045 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. Two other workers died earlier in April, one of them came in contact with a live wire and was fatally electrocuted on a Manhattan construction site located at 555 West 22nd Street and the other one fell to his death from a dangerous scaffolding installation at a construction site located at East 53rd Street in Brooklyn.  These recent fatalities were so alarming that the DOB organized a massive sweep of all major construction sites in the city and temporarily closed hundreds of them for not respecting safety standards. (see previous blog).

Hard hat fatalities NYC Q2 2021
Falls remain the number one cause of fatal construction accidents in New York City. Again during Q2, 3 of the 5 fatalities were fall. Most of the time fall fatalities are the result of negligence by the contractor and could have been prevented. Fatalities often occur on sites that have a history of violations and complaints, for example, the construction site located at 1200 East 53rd Street in Brooklyn has so far recorded a total of 30 complaints, 50 DOB Violations including 8 open and 40 OATH/ECB violations including an open one for failing to notify the DOB after the death of the worker. A stop work order is still active at this location. The site located at 45-18 Court Square in Queens previously logged in 53 complaints, 54 DOB violations including 3 open and 39 OATH/ECB violations including 11 open. Before the deadly accident occurred at this site, the contractor was fined for failing to safeguard all persons and property affected by construction operations. This violation is still open. The same goes for the site located at 1045 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn which as of Today has a stop work order with 20 OATH/ECB violations open, most of them of the highest severity. Hard hats working on construction sites that are unsafe have a much higher risk to die in a construction accident.

Construction worker fatalities by type of accidents Q2 NYC
The number of construction workers injured on the job was a little lower than usual during the second quarter. A total of 144 workers suffered injury in construction accidents in New York City during the 3-month period of April, May, June 2021 compared to respectively, 68, 150, 233, 170, 171 and 134 during the same period of 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015.  Last year the numbers were lower because of the Covid19 lockdown and we can not compare them to any other year. Manhattan had the most injuries, followed by Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.

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floodFlooding and cleaning up damages after a flood can be dangerous and cause accidents that can result in severe injury and sometimes death. Here is a summary of  the most common dangers and how to avoid them.

Driving a vehicle during a storm and after a storm can be dangerous especially crossing flooded roads. It is estimated that half of the fatalities caused by flooding are people in a vehicle. Crossing an area flooded by water in a vehicle can be deadly. 12 inches of water can carry off a small vehicle and 18 to 24 inches are enough to move a larger vehicle.   It is much safer to turn around rather than risk your life driving your car through a flooded road. If the water raises around your car, you should be ready to abandon it.

Down and damaged power lines create electrical hazards and only qualified workers should perform repair work after proprely evaluating the dangers and de-energizing lines if possible. Even for qualified workers, repairing power lines damaged by a storm can be dangerous. Most common accidents related to damaged or down power lines are electrocution by contact or burn caused by electrified lines, workers falling from heights during repairs or people being struck by a falling pole or other objects falling with the pole such as tree limbs.

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Marion and Aristides victims of terrorist attackWe would like to warmly congratulate two of our clients, Marion Van Reeth and Aristides Melissas for their amazing performance last July, climbing Mont-Ventoux, one of the most difficult climbs of  Tour  de France!

The couple who suffered critical injuries during the terrorist truck attack that took place on the Greenway, downtown Manhattan on October 31st 2017,  were among 10 other victims of  terror attacks who climbed Mont-Ventoux on July 6 ahead of the Tour the France cyclists to support victims of terrorism and call for worldwide solidarity and generosity.

A symbol of the long fight that terror victims endure while recovering from their injuries and trauma, the climb marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack in the US and the 5th anniversary of the Brussels and Nice attacks and was organized by Tour the France with Association Française des Victimes du Terrorisme and V-Europe.

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truck in NYCBig trucks are dangerous in dense cities like New York. While truck accidents only account for a small percentage of all crashes in New Yok City, they are often deadly or result in severe injuries to pedestrians or cyclists.

The city recently published a plan to move freight in a safer and more sustainable way around the city

E-commerce drastically changed the way New Yorkers are getting their goods delivered and led to a significant increase of trucks in the city while at the same time the city is trying to be more sustainable and encourage people biking, walking or using public transportation.

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Bronx residents are the first New Yorkers to enjoy the benefits of the pilot e-scooter program but at the same time Bronx roads are among the most dangerous for cyclists and scooter riders.  E-scooters and e-bikes have been legal in New York City since the beginning of last year but so far there was no e-scooter share program in the city. E-scooters have been a very controversial subject in New York City. While they can be an excellent and sustainable mode of transportation for neighborhoods that are not well served by public transportation, they can be dangerous for users and for pedestrians alike.

After long discussions and negotiations, the city finally agreed to launch a pilot program in the Bronx, and since Tuesday  3000 e-scooters are available to East Bronx residents. The pilot will go on for a year and then, the city will decide to expand it or not.

While the scooter program is a great idea, the city needs to address the lack of protected infrastructures in the Bronx