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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mass-for-construction-workers11 New York construction workers died on the job over the last 12 months. 9 of them were non unionized and two of them were unionized. These fallen hard hats were honored yesterday in St. Patrick’s Cathedral by thousands of construction workers. The mass is an annual tradition in New York. Thousands of construction workers most of them coming straight from work in their dusty outfits filled the cathedral. 15 different trade unions were present. Rev Brian Jordan, chaplain for the Building and Construction Trade Council of Greater New York, presided at the the mass. Behind him were 11 empty chairs each with a white hard hat and a rose.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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Every year in the US approximately 10,000 people die in car accidents caused by drunk drivers.  In an effort to prevent these types of accidents, states have been introducing Ignition Interlock Laws.  The ignition interlock is a device that is connected to the ignition of a car. When a driver wants to start a car with this type of device he has to breath in the ignition interlock. If alcohol is detected and is above the legal BAC limit for the state, the car doesn’t start. All states now have ignition interlock laws but some are more permissive than others. Globally there are 3 types of laws. “Permissive” laws are at the discretion of the judge or other sentencing authority. “Partial Laws” apply only to a certain type of offenders for example only repeat DUI offenders. Mandatory Laws apply to all drivers convicted of DUI. At the beginning of last year, 26 states had mandatory laws, 22 had partial laws and 2 had permissive laws.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that states with mandatory ignition interlock laws had a 7% decline in fatal crashes related to DUI.  The study was conducted by Emma E. McGinty, PhD, MS; Gregory Tung, PhD, MPH,; Juliana Shulman-Laniel, MPH; Rose Hardy, MPH; Lainie Rutkow, JD, PhD, MPH; Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, MPH; and Jon S. Vernick, JD, MPH all from  Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Colorado School of Public Health.

The researches analyzed crash data  from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) over a 32 year period. They compared the number of alcohol related fatal crashes before and after the ignition interlock laws were adopted by the various states. The study demonstrates that mandatory ignition laws are much more effective than the permissive or partial laws at preventing drunk driving fatal accidents.

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old woman using cell phone behind the wheelDistracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents in New York City  and in the US.  While teenagers and young drivers are often perceived as the most susceptible to use their cell phone while driving, a new study indicates that seniors are indeed as bad or even worst than the kids.

While previous statistics indicate that around 50% of young drivers recognize that they are talking on the phone while driving, a new study found out that nearly 60% of seniors say they are doing exactly the same.  Conducted by a group of researchers from the Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) program at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, the study looked at the driving habits of 397 Southern Californians age 65 and older. Among the 82% of them who said they  owned a cell phone, 60% said they spoke on the phone while behind the wheel.

These statistics are extremely alarming as when people get older their driving can be reduced by additional factor such as a medical condition or medication use. Alertness and mental processing also often decrease as people are getting older.

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Tweet from the FDNY reporting the NYC fire accident5 young people died in a house fire in New York City Sunday afternoon.  2 year old Chayce Lipford, 10 year old Rashawn Matthews, 16 year old Jada Foxworth, 17 year old Melody Edwards and 20 year old Destiny Dones  all died in a fire that broke out in a house located on 208th Street in Queens village, Sunday afternoon around 2:30 pm.  911 received a call at 2:36 from someone who was driving in front of the house and saw flames coming out of the 1st floor window. The firefighters only took 4 minutes  to arrive but by that time the house was already completely consumed by fire. The only survivor is 46 year old Maurice Matthews, father of Rashawn Matthews. He jumped from a second floor window.  According to CBS New York, the victims may have been trapped in the attic of the house. The house had no working smoke detectors.  The investigation about the exact cause of the accident is still ongoing.

fdny education teamFollowing the tragic accident, the FDNY fire Safety Education Unit  founded by the FDNY Foundation and the New York Red cross set up a stand in Queens Village to teach community residents about the importance of having smoke detectors in their house. They also installed smoke detectors in houses that didn’t have any.

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Vanessa Raghubar died in a drunk driving accident in NYCA 22 year old woman died from her injury  after a drunk driver crashed into her car in NYC. The drunk driver, 32 year old Neville Smith is a NYPD detective. He was off duty when he crashed into Vanessa Raghubar’s car.  The accident occurred around 4:00 am Sunday morning on the Van Wick Expressway.  Vanessa  was returning from her sister’s birthday party when the drunk detective crashed his Mercedes into her Honda. The impact was so strong that Vanessa’s car was propelled against a light pole and a tree. She and her two passengers, her sister and her sister’s boyfriend suffered critical injuries. All 3 were transported to the hospital where Vanessa died the following day.

Smith was charged with vehicular assault, assault, driving while intoxicated and refusal to take a Breathalyzer test. More charges are expected.

Vanessa who studied psychology was supposed to graduate in June. Her family wants justice.

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accident sceneA NYC pedestrian suffered critical personal injury after being struck by a motorcyclist who disappeared into the night. The  unidentified middle-aged woman was crossing Bruckner Boulevard at the intersection of Hunts Point Avenue in the Bronx, NYC, when she was struck by a motorcycle. She was in the crosswalk. She suffered serious head trauma and was rushed to the emergency room. She is still fighting for her life. The police are still looking for the reckless biker who was riding a red Suzuki sports motorcycle.

Read more in the NY Daily News 

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firefighter who diedA FDNY firefighter fell to his death Thursday afternoon as he was fighting a fire in a NYC apartment. 42 year old, William Tolley was responding to a two-alarm apartment fire on the third floor of  a building located on Putnam Ave in Ridgewood, Queens.  The fatal accident happened when the fire was almost extinguished. Tolley had just finished executing a routine operation on the rooftop. He was about to get in the bucket at the end of a five story ladder when something went wrong and he fell to his death.

It is not clear so far if Tolley took a misstep or if  a mechanical issue with the ladder or the bucket caused the accident. The truck was kept on the street with the ladder extended for investigation purposes.

The FDNY said the fire was a minor blaze with very limited risk of injury or death and the accident was “bizarre”.

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Protected bike lanes have proven to be one of the most efficient street designs to prevent bicycle accidents in New York City. Yesterday the Department Of Transportation (DOT) announced that it was planning to add such a bike lane on 7th Avenue from 30th Street to Charlotte Street, in downtown Manhattan. The project was partially presented last night to the Community Board 4.

Despite having several safer options to ride safely North or South in Chelsea and in the West Village, a significant number of bicyclists are still riding on 7th Avenue.  In a 14-hour period, the DOT counted 2,350 people biking at the intersection of 20th street and 7th Avenue. The traffic is usually fluid on the downtown segment of the avenue and speeding is common, increasing the risk of serious or fatal crashes.

If the project is accepted, the number of  traffic lanes will be reduced from 4 to 3 and a protected bike lane will be added.  The DOT believes that the project will reduce speeding and increase bicyclists safety. Pedestrian safety will be improved as well as crossing distances being shortened.

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carbon monoxide danger signA couple died from carbon monoxide poisoning in New York last Sunday.

71 year old Doris Crawford and 80 year old John Crawford were found dead in their Harlem home On Easter Sunday morning by their daughter and her husband.  After her parents didn’t answer the phone, she and her husband went to check on them. They were supposed to go together to church for the Easter service.  The daughter told investigators that she smelled gas as soon as she entered the apartment. She and her husband found her dad lying in his bed in a pool of vomit and her mother siting in a chair in front of the tv. Both were dead. The oven was turned on but there was nothing inside it.

According to an ongoing investigation, The FDNY found a carbon monoxide detector without batteries on a table inside the apartment where the couple lived. Investigators suspect that the couple didn’t realize that their apartment was filling with CO2. They also suspect that the couple took the batteries out of the detector because the device started beeping. According to their neighbors, maintenance workers had just replaced smoke and CO2 detectors a few weeks ago in the building. Therefore the couple may have thought a defective detector was installed in their apartment and removed it.

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The truck driver who fatally struck a bicyclist may face criminal charges. The NYPD Collision Squad Investigation told the media yesterday that they are planing to recommend criminal charges against the truck driver who killed 31 year old Kelly Hurley. The woman was riding her bike through the intersection of First Avenue and East 9th Street when she was hit by a box truck making a left turn. Both the truck and the bicyclist had the green light.This type of intersection is called a “mixing zone” intersection. According to the NYC traffic law the bicyclist had the right of way. The truck driver failed to yield and struck her. According to the Collision Squad Investigation the woman tried to avoid the truck by dismounting her bike but she couldn’t avoid it. (Read more in DNA)

A few days ago, comments by a NYPD representative who blamed the victim and cops being seen ticketing bicyclists a lock away from the fatal crash outraged bicyclist advocates. (See previous blog)