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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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In 2020, New York saw a record high in motorist (driver) deaths and bicycle injuries and deaths, a record low in pedestrian deaths and a much lower number of truck and bus accidents than usual. The Covid 19 crisis that lasted during most of 2020 had a significant impact on New Yorkers commuting habits around the city. Emptier streets have lead to reckless driving and as a result more deaths related to speed. A surge in bicycle accident injuries was also recorded as many New Yorkers are now using bicycles instead of riding the subway.

Surge in traffic accident deaths in NYC

Despite a slowdown in activity in the city , 239 people died in traffic accidents in New York City, compared to 214 in 2019, 199 in 2018, 209 in 2017, 223 in 2016, 235 in 2015, 250 in 2014 and 286 in 2013. The number of car accident deaths was almost back to the level it was when the Vision Zero program started. If it was not for a significant decrease in pedestrian deaths, the number of fatalities would have been over this level with all other categories of road users reaching record high number of fatalities.

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fall fatalities in NYC 2020A hard hat died after he fell from the 16th floor at a construction site in Manhattan. The 52 year old worker was a unionized sheet metal worker who had been with Local 28 for 24 years. He was doing doing some work at the NYU Ambulatory Care Center located on 41st Street between Third and Second Avenue in Midtown Manhattan. The Medical Center is open to patients but some construction is still going on inside and outside. The DOB told the media that the fall was not related to the construction going on inside the building. The worker arrived at the Medical Center at 6:30 am last Friday morning and went to the back of the building and took a hoist elevator that runs at the exterior of the building. Two hours later the man fell and was found lying dead on the ground at the back of the building. The DOT is still investigating the exact cause of the accident.

Eric Meslin, Sheet Metal Workers Local 28 president and business manager  told the News “I worked with him personally back when we had tools on. He was a good guy to be around,” Meslin said. “He had a big personality. It’s hitting our members hard.”

Falls are the number one cause of construction workers fatalities. Last year among the 8 construction workers fatalities reported by the New York City Department of Buildings, 4 of them were falls. (see previous blog)

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accident scene2 young people died and 2 others were injured in a car crash on the Saw Mill Parkway near Yonkers, NY. Investigation is still ongoing as to what exactly happened but speed seems to be a factor. Previous to the accident, the group of teenagers had visited friends in several locations. They were heading South on the Saw Mill River Parkway around 12:45 am when the driver lost control of the vehicle and rolled over.  The accident occurred near the interchange with the Cross Country Parkway.

When the police and EMT arrived they found 17 year old Ali Alghaithi, a Manhattan resident, dead outside the vehicle.  17 year old Abdlwahab (Abdul) Abushaar was still alive  but he later died from his injuries. Two other teens, a 15 year old and an 18 year old were seriously injured and are still hospitalized.

Two of the teens were working together at a cellphone store in Manhattan.

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location of the school bus accidentA 6 year old pedestrian was fatally struck by a school bus in New York City. The accident took place on Wednesday morning near the intersection of South Fifth Street and Hooper Street in Williamsburg. 6 year old Shimon Fried was on his way to school with his older brother.  They were about to get on the school bus when the worst happened. A video from inside the bus shows that they both crossed in front of the  bus with the 9 year-old brother in front, followed a few seconds later by the youngest. The 9 year old got on board and the bus driver closed the doors and took off, running over young Shimon and continuing on its way. The video in the bus shows that the bus appears to rise up as it runs over the child. The driver did not stop and continued  to drive.

A MTA Bus driver found the victim lying on the street

The victim was discovered by  Francisca Biascbrea, a MTA Bus driver. She first thought the victim lying on the road was a doll. She stopped the bus and got out.  She immediately called 911 after she realized it was a young boy.

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workers on suspended scaffoldRepairing facades can be dangerous. Many construction workers died or were injured while repairing facades in New York  without counting the multiple close calls where workers find themselves dangling out of suspended scaffolds  like the worker in the below video who was lucky he could get back on. Sometimes workers are left dangling in the air until FDNY comes to the rescue.

The NYC DOT recorded 4 deaths and 61 injuries related to accidents during facade work since 2015 and recently released a worker alert to raise awareness about the danger of using a suspended scaffold to repair facades.

Here are a few steps that workers should follow to reduce the risk of accident when doing facade repair

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Loading zone sign in NYCDouble parking is a cause of traffic accidents in New York City. It is especially dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. For the cyclists because they have to go around the double parked vehicles and get in and out of  traffic. Double parked vehicles also cause visibility issues that can be especially dangerous for pedestrians crossing the road.

With online orders keeping on  growing, New York City traffic has changed and it is common to see USPS, UPS, FEDEX, FreshDirect, Amazon, and other delivery trucks clogging the streets of New York City, creating dangerous situations for road users.

The DOT has been working on looking for a solution to remediate this problem and recently announced that it was creating Residential Loading Zones.  These zones will allow trucks to effectuate their deliveries, residents to unload their car, car services and taxis to unload and pick up passengers.  A pilot program tested this concept back in 2019 in several NYC neighborhoods. The pilot was very discreet and the media were not aware of it until some residents whose car parking spaces had been used for loading zones got really upset and called the media after they continued to park their cars there despite the new no parking signs and had their cars towed away. While some neighborhoods were not happy with the new loading  zones others residents like those living on West End Avenue between 79th and 95th have been asking for such measures for years.

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location of the elevator accidentA young mechanic was killed in an elevator accident in New York City last Thursday. 25 year old Joseph Rosa, a mechanic apprentice was helping repair an elevator in a building located at 133 E. Clark Place in the Bronx. The elevator cabin fell down the shaft and crushed the young man at the bottom. According to tenants in the building, the elevator was out for months. Jospeh Rosa was there with a team to perform modernization work when the dramatic accident occured. Another worker was also injured.

Joseph Rosa had just married his wife Karina Stepanova in a Russian Orthodox Church. A month before the wedding he converted to his wife’s religion and got baptized. “He was starting to get closer to religion, closer to God,” the bride-turned-widow said. “It’s like he knew this was coming.” (read more in the NY Daily News)

Installing and repairing elevators is a dangerous job and multiple fatalities and serious injuries are reported nationwide every year. In New York,  too many workers have died while repairing elevators because they were lacking the proper training or because the elevators were defective or unsafe.

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colored-smokeA father to be died and his brother was injured after a homemade pyrotechnic device they were preparing for a gender party exploded in their garage on Sunday.

28 year old Christopher Pekny learned around Christmas that his girlfriend was pregnant. The couple had planned a gender reveal party on Sunday to announce that the baby was a boy. Christopher Pekny was in the garage with his brother Michael preparing the gender reveal device that was intended to explode in a cloud of colored powder. However the device exploded earlier than planned while the two brothers were setting it up. Christopher died and Michael was seriously injured in the knee by flying shrapnel.

Not much information is available  about the exact nature of the device only that it was in the shape of a pipe. Investigation as the nature of the explosive is still ongoing.

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location of the fatal car wash accidentA NYC pedestrian was fatally struck by a drunk car wash employee as she was about to pick her car up last week.

54 year old Tracie McManu, a mother of three was about to pick up her car at Crossbay Car Wash in Ozone Park, Queens, when a drunk employee pulling another out of the car wash mowed her down.  The pedestrian who was with her daughter had just tipped some employees and was about to pick up her car.

The employee lost control of the car and suddenly hit the gas, rolled over the victim and crashed. McManu was rushed to the hospital but she could not be saved. Her family is heartbroken (see NY Daily News).

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accident sceneA reckless unlicensed 18 year old driver, behind the wheel of a stolen car, blew a stop sign and crashed into another car, killing the passenger and seriously injuring the driver last week in Staten Island. He then fled on foot. The police found him later on. He was arrested and hit with multiple charges.

Last Tuesday night, around 6:15 pm, Shahzad and Krauzer Akund were driving their Mercedes-Benz East on Lambert Lane in Bulls Head, Staten Island, when they got T-Boned by a reckless driver who blew a stop sign. The driver who was driving a Honda completely destroyed the front of his vehicle and ran away on foot, leaving behind him the couple dying in the street.

When EMS arrived they found the couple in critical condition