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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On Tuesday, November 1, 2011, Cardozo Law School will hold a seminar on Opening Statements for more than 100 students as a prerequisite to its Intensive Trial Advocacy Program (ITAP). Featured Speakers at the lecture include Ben Rubinowitz, and Judith Livingston. Both Rubinowitz and Livingston have been recognized as two of the most successful Trial Lawyers in New York and both are members of the Inner Circle of Advocates — a group of the top 100 Trial Attorneys in the Country. Each of these speakers has obtained multiple million dollar verdicts in areas including Medical Malpractice claims, Automobile Accident cases, Construction Accident cases, Products Liability claims and Civil Rights violations. In the past both Rubinowitz and Livingston have been asked to give demonstrations of their successful Trial Techniques at the annual Continuing Legal Education program “Masters of Trial Law Seminar.” Rubinowitz stated “It is an honor to be asked to participate in this program. I am delighted that Judy Livingston will be joining me in this event.”

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A Mobile jury awarded a $40 million wrongful death judgment to the parents of a Mobile County teenager who was killed in a 2004 car accident. The judgment was against Kia Motors and the makers of a seatbelt buckle. Tiffany Stabler was ejected from the vehicle after she struck a sign and the car overturned. Witnesses said that she was wearing her seatbelt, while Kia maintained that she was not.

Stabler was driving a 1999 Kia Sephia that her father had bought for her 16th birthday. Kia officials knew that seatbelts in the 1999 model vehicles were faulty, according to plaintiff testimony, but did not include them in a recall of 1995-1998 vehicles.

Read More: Mobile County jury slaps Kia with $40 million wrongful death verdict

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In Brannan v Korn, Second Department, May 24, 2011, an action to recover damages for personal injuries, The Court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint based on the emergency doctrine. The plaintiff, while attempting to walk across Ring Road, in Garden City, New York, was struck by a hit and run driver and, as a result of the impact, was propelled onto a second vehicle operated by the defendant Joseph D. Korn. The Court held that while “… the existence of an emergency and the reasonableness of the response to it generally present issues of fact, those issues “may in appropriate circumstances be determined as a matter of law” (Vitale v Levine, 44 AD3d 935)…” The Court went on to hold that the defendants were entitiled to judgment as a matter of law.

“The evidence submitted by the respondents in support of their motion for summary judgment established that Korn was faced with an emergency situation, not of his own making, leaving him with seconds to react and virtually no opportunity to avoid a collision (see Lonergan v Almo, 74 AD3d 902). Under these circumstances, the respondents established their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. In opposition, the plaintiff’s speculative and conclusory assertions failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether Korn’s reaction to the emergency was unreasonable, or whether any negligence on his part proximately contributed to bringing about the emergency or the accident.”

One must wonder if plaintiff submitted a detailed affidavit of an accident reconstruction expert. In any auto accident case in which the emergency defense is applicable the plaintiff’s attorney must retain an experienced accident reconstruction expert, not a “generic” expert who will do a detailed site scene analysis, review all testimony, police reports, etc. and be able to state, not speculate, that to a reasonable degree of professional certainty, the defendant driver had time to react and avoid the accident. The affidavit must explain in minute detail the foundation for the expert’s opinion that the defendant had sufficient time to avoid the accident.

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In Anastasi v. Terio, decided by The New York Appellate Division, Second Department on May 17, 2011, reversed the granting of Summary Judgment for defendants in this action for wrongful death.

The case involved a car accident that took place at an intersection in Queens, New York City. The traffic proceeding in the same direction as the plaintiff’s vehicle was controlled by a stop sign, while the traffic proceeding in the same direction as the defendants’ vehicle was not controlled by any traffic device. The plaintiff’s decedent was sitting in the back seat of the automobile operated by the plaintiff. In reversing The Court held;

“Contrary to the Supreme Court’s determination, the defendants failed to submit evidence sufficient to establish their prima facie entitlement to judgment as a matter of law (see Winegrad v New York Univ. Med. Ctr., 64 NY2d 851). “There can be more than one proximate cause of an accident” (Cox v Nunez, 23 AD3d 427, 427). Although a stop sign governed the intersection for traffic proceeding in the direction that the plaintiff’s vehicle traveled, triable issues of fact exist as to whether the defendant driver was free from negligence and, if not, whether that negligence was a proximate cause of the accident (see Myles v Blain, 81 AD3d 798; Kim v Acosta, 72 AD3d 648; Virzi v Fraser, 51 AD3d 784; Campbell-Lopez v Cruz, 31 AD3d 475; Cox v Nunez, 23 AD3d 427). Accordingly, the Supreme Court should have denied that branch of the defendants’ motion which was for summary judgment dismissing the complaint.”

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busOur partner Ben Rubinowitz successfully resolved a claim against the New York City Transit Authority for $4 million. At the time of the accident, a young woman was crossing a New York City street when she was struck by a bus driven by a N.Y.C.T.A. employee. The defense claimed the accident was her fault asserting that she had not crossed in the crosswalk and that she failed to pay attention to the traffic conditions. The injured victim asserted that the bus driver failed to keep a reasonable and proper lookout failing to pay proper attention and in failing to avoid the pedestrian. As a result of the impact the woman suffered a degloving injury to her knee and pelvic fractures.

Rubinowitz, who recently won a $27.5 million verdict for another client struck by a bus said: “This successful result was part of a team effort. Howard Hershenhorn, Diana Carnemolla and Peter Saghir also worked timelessly for our client.” Rubinowitz continued: “We have the ability to secure the very best results for our clients because of two main reasons: We work harder and put in more effort than any other law firm.”

Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf has had remarkable results for its clients in car accident, construction, premises liability, civil rights and medical malpractice cases. Ten of its lawyers have been listed in Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers.

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By Ernest R. Steigman

The Court of Appeals on February 17, 2011, in a 4 to 3 decision has just written an extremely interesting and important opinion (Kabir v. County of Monroe) regarding New York Vehicle & Traffic Law, Section 1104(e).

The Court held that the reckless disregard standard of care in V & T Law 1104(e) only applies when a driver of an authorized emergency vehicle involved in an emergency operation engages in the specific conduct exempted from the rules of the road by V & T Law 1104(b). Any other injury causing conduct of such a driver is now governed by the principles of ordinary negligence.

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750px-PA-366.svg.pngJeffrey and Diana Acre have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation over the 2009 death of their daughter. They allege that PennDOT’s poor design and maintenance of Route 366 in New Kensington was a contributing factor in the death of 16-year-old Kylee Jo.

In the lawsuit filed in Westmoreland County Court, the parents blame PennDOT for not filling in a steep, 4-inch rut between the road and the shoulder. The suit says the design flaw is even more dangerous because the dropoff is located on a curve.

Kylee Jo was a front-seat passenger in an SUV that slammed into a guardrail. She was not wearing a seatbelt. The driver of the vehicle, Jonathan Patrick O’Sullivan, was speeding and under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. He was charged with vehicular homicide, drunken driving, speeding and several related crimes.

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fordFord pleaded with the Illinois Supreme Court Justices last week in hope that they’d overturn the $43 million Madison County verdict awarded to Dora Mae Jablonski in 2005, as reported in The Madison Record.

Jablonski’s husband, John Jablonski, died after the fuel tank in their 1993 Lincoln Town Car exploded and she suffered severe burns across most of her body.

“We firmly believe that the parties received a fair trial in this case,” Fifth District Appellate Court Justice Bruce Stewart wrote in a February judgment.

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The following is an extract from a report in The National Edition of Verdict Search, Vol. 8 Issue 6, June 2009.

Our Partner, Ben B. Rubinowitz represented the plaintiffs, Gloria Aguilar and Aristides Aguilar.

On Nov. 4, 2005, plaintiff Gloria Aguilar, 45, a homemaker and part-time housecleaner, was struck by a New York City Transit Authority bus. The incident occurred on West 50th Street, alongside its intersection at 10th Avenue, in Manhattan. Aguilar sustained injuries of her arms, head, legs and torso. Aguilar sued the bus’s driver, Andrew Monaco, and the bus’s operator, the New York City Transit Authority. Aguilar alleged that Monaco was negligent in his operation of the bus. She further alleged that the New York City Transit Authority was vicariously liable for Monaco’s actions.