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.

Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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road construction workers143 workers lost their lives on road construction sites in 2016 in America compared to respectively 130, 119 and 105 in 2015, 2014 and 2013. This is the third consecutive year that the number of worker deaths has been increasing.  Over the last 10 years the number of road construction workers dying in crashes has been oscillating between 100 and 130. The average for the last 3 years is 130.7 It is the first year that this number is above 140.

Increased vehicular traffic, distracted driving and increase of road construction projects are among the main causes of this increase in fatalities. In a recent press release the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) urges drivers to be more careful and keep their eyes on the road when they drive near or through road construction zones.

Because of the nature of their activity, road workers and especially highway workers are highly exposed to fatal accidents.  Last year they represented almost 20% of the 765 fatalities that occurred on road construction sites. Drivers and passengers of motor vehicles represented around 80% of the fatalities.

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accident sceneA young couple died and 5 other people suffered serious injury in a car accident involving 5 vehicles early Thursday morning in New York City.  So far the investigators are still trying to figure out what exactly caused the five-car chain reaction crash.

The accident occurred between 1:00 am and 2:00 am  on the Nassau Expressway in Inwood.  The massive collision left debris of car parts, oil and gasoline over 800 feet on the highway. According to the police one of the cars’engines went out of the vehicle.

The young couple was identified by the police as 21-year-old Yisroel Levin, of Brooklyn, and 20-year-old Elisheva Basya Kaplan, of Far Rockaway.  They got trapped in their car as it burst on fire. The two of them got engaged last week and were set to be married over the summer.

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Distracted driving by locationApril is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. A national study published last month shows that distracted driving is at its highest in the State of New Jersey. New York State ranks number four of the most distracted driving Sates. Florida and Missouri are second and third.  The report entitled “Heads Up, Phone Down: Distracted Driving Intervention” also found that Wyoming drivers are the least distracted. Distracted driving is a bigger problem on the East Coast than on the West Coast. The states with the worst distracted driving problem are mostly located in the East and the South East while the less distracted drivers are mostly located in the North West.

While looking at cities, Miami has the worst problems with distracted diving while Denver has the most disciplined drivers. The report found that drivers look at their phone every four miles in Miami but only every 6.25 miles in Denver. New York City comes right behind Miami.  Globally, distracted driving kills 3,000 people every year in the US, that’s 9 people every day.

Distracted drivers are often more reckless than non distracted drivers. The study indicates that distracted drivers are four times more likely to speed and 40% more likely to brake hard than those who are not distracted.

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location of the fatal pedestrian accident BK NYCThe investigation is still ongoing in the NYC car accident during which Dorothy Burns drove into a group of pedestrians and killed two young children on March 5th. According to a new article in the NY Daily News, a medical crew was dispatched to Burns’ apartment on March 2nd after receiving a call about a cardiac condition. It wasn’t the first time that emergency responders showed up at this address. Investigators found that they were previously called to the rescue for cardiac condition on December 22nd and November 19th.  The health of Dorothy Burns had deteriorated so much at the beginning of the year that she had to ask for a medical leave from her job in January. She didn’t return until February after she received a medical clearance. The investigators are now trying to find out if the doctors told Burns she had to stop driving because of her condition. The woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis had a seizure before crashing into a group of pedestrians who were crossing the road in Park Slope. Two young children died and three other people were injured in the accident (see previous blog

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Speed_cameras1Dorothy Burns, the woman who killed two children and sent their mothers to the hospital after going through a red light, had a history of reckless driving. She was caught four times for running a red light and four other times for speeding in school zones. However she was still able to drive around the city.

In Today’s editorial, the New York Daily News is pointing out several cases of dangerous drivers who have been caught multiple times endangering pedestrians lives but still have their driving licence.

Drivers who are being caught by speed or red-light cameras only risk a $50 fine in New York City. There are no other consequences whatever the number of times they are caught doing it. The Daily News found out that a dozen drivers have accumulated more than 45 tickets each and are still able to drive in the city.  Privacy Laws prevented the Daily News from obtaining the names of these drivers. However they found out that the same car in Queens got 74 tickets for speeding in school zone and 1 for going through a red light.  A white van got 59 speeding tickets and 7 red light violations. Two livery cars with TLC licenses  had a total of 22 red light violations and 25 speeding tickets.

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NYC Fatal traffic accidents were at their lowest last January. During the first month of 2018, 11 people died in a traffic accident compared to respectively 18, 17, 13, 21 and 28 in January 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. The only months when the number of monthly fatal auto accidents in New York City was this low was in March 2016 and in May 2017. The monthly number of traffic deaths never went below 11 in the city.

While traffic fatalities have been on a declining trend since Vision Zero started, the opposite occurred with traffic injuries. They have been on a rising trend. However recent numbers seem to show some signs of stabilization.  4,351 people were injured in a car accident in New York City in January 2018. That’s a little bit less than the 4,383 people injured in January 2017 but more than respectively the 3,654, 3,449, 3,899 and 3,993 people injured in January 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

Globally, traffic accidents continue to increase in New York City. Despite being lower than most previous months, the number of traffic accidents in New York City reached 17,762 in January 2018 compared to respectively 17,126, 17,798, 15,977, 16,597, 15,599 in January 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. January  is usually a month during which traffic accidents are lower than other months. The number of accidents is usually below the trend line in January.

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location of the fatal pedestrian accident BK NYCTwo young pedestrians died a 3 adults were injured after being hit by a reckless driver in Brooklyn, NYC, on Monday afternoon. 44 year Dorothy Burns was behind the wheel of her Volvo Sedan when she slowly drove through a red light and drove into pedestrians crossing the road at the intersection of Ninth Street and Fifth Ave  in Park Slope (see Google Map picture for location). Then she crashed into another car.

A 20-month-old boy, Joshua Lew, and a 4 year old  girl, Abigaeil Blumenstein, were killed in the accident. Their mothers, 34-year-old Ruthie Ann Blumenstein and 33-year-old Lauren Lew were both hospitalized. Ruthie Ann Blumenstein, a talented Broadway actress also known as Ruthie Ann Miles, is pregnant. She is still in critical condition . A male pedestrian was also hospitalized after being injured in the accident.

Disturbing videos of the accident show the driver slowly running the red light and ten picking up speed and almost intentionally plowing into pedestrians before continuing and crashing into another car.

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LIRR_TrainA woman died after her car that crashed onto the Long Island Rails Road tracks was hit by a train. The high winds may have pushed the car onto the tracks according to the preliminary investigation.

29 year old Elizabeth Gallager lost control of her car near the Port Jefferson branch of the Long Island Rail Road in East Northport. She crashed down an embankment onto the tracks. A train plowed into the car around 2:10 am. The service was suspended for 5 hours. Investigators are not sure if the young woman died when the car hit the tracks or after the train hit the car.

Gallager who is a teacher had a second job at a restaurant. She was driving home in a powerful storm that pummeled Tri-State Area when the accident occured. She’s among the 9 victims who died in the NorthEast Winter storm.

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senior driverSenior drivers have a higher risk of dying in a car crash than younger drivers. Some inexpensive car accessories can help older drivers to drive more safely and prevent accidents but only 10% take advantage of them.

Drivers over 65-year-old often suffer from various health conditions that can affect driving. Reduced mental capacity and cognitive decline, arthritic hands, diminished vision, overweight, limited body motion or decreased leg strength are among the most common conditions affecting drivers over 65-year-old.

Diminished physical condition doesn’t automatically imply that someone should stop driving a car. Some cheap and easy to install accessories can make a difference and improve driving skills. For example:

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distracted driving can cause accidentsMost drivers who were using their cellphone and as a result killed someone in a car accident usually don’t get more than a few days in jail.

Fair Warning reviewed approximately 100 prosecutions of distracted drivers over the last 5 years and found that light punishment is usually the norm. Only in a few cases drivers were sentenced to serve for a month or two or were fined with amounts of more than $1000.

Fair Warning also found that the risk of going to prison is almost zero for drivers who were “only” using their phone before they killed someone on the road. Drivers who got sentenced to prison usually committed at least one additional illegal action such as drinking, taking drugs or using a hand held cell phone while driving a commercial truck.