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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.

Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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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.

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Following a six week trial in New York Supreme Court before Judge Paul Feinman, our Partner, Ben B. Rubinowitz obtained a jury verdict of $27,500,000.00.

The plaintiff, Gloria Aguilar, was a 45 year old woman, returning from work. As she was crossing 50th St at 10th Ave, a New York City Transit Authority bus made a right turn into her. The bus knocked her down and then ran over her left leg. Although the leg was attached “by a thread”, the doctors at Bellevue Hospital were unable to perform microsurgery due to the crush injuries from the 40,000 pound bus. Ms Aguilar underwent multiple surgeries and eventually had an above-the-knee amputation.

The defendant Transit Authority claimed that Ms Aguilar was outside of the crosswalk at the time she was struck, that she failed to look and walked into the side of the Bus.

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In Tirado V. Elrac Inc., U-Haul Co., Inc. decided August 5, 2008, The First Department reversed the order of the Supreme Court granting U-Haul’s motion for summary judgment and granted plaintiffs cross motion to amend his Complaint and held the amendment related back to the original date of filing of the initial complaint thus avoiding application of The Graves Amendment. The facts were as follows;

” Plaintiff alleges that on November 9, 2004, while a passenger in a car driven by defendant Litzey and owned by defendant Elrac, he sustained injuries when their vehicle was struck by a truck owned by U-Haul Co., Inc. (UHI) and operated by defendant McFarlan. The truck in question bore Arizona registration number AB24019 and was apparently owned by U-Haul Co. of Arizona (UHAZ). ”

“On July 29, 2005, plaintiff filed a verified complaint, naming Elrac, Litzey and McFarlan as defendants. Believing that the rental truck was owned by UHI, plaintiff sued that entity, claiming vicarious liability for the negligent use or operation of the vehicle. UHI was served on August 26, 2005, by service on the New York Secretary of State, and an additional copy was mailed to UHI at 2727 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, Arizona. On October 7, 2005, U-Haul Co. of New York (UHNY) filed an answer in lieu of UHI, presuming it was the intended defendant.”

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In Koenig v. Lee, Decided on July 15, 2008, The 2d. Department dismissed plaintiff’s complaint for personal injuries suffered in an Automobile Accident based on the Emergency Doctrine. The facts set forth by The Court were as follows;

“Here, the evidence submitted by the appellants in support of their motion for summary judgment established that the plaintiff’s vehicle, which had been traveling southbound, was virtually stopped in the left turn lane of the roadway. According to his deposition testimony, as the defendant Song B. Lee drove in the left lane of northbound traffic, he was forced to swerve across the center line. In so doing, his car collided with the plaintiff’s, forcing the plaintiff’s vehicle to move backward and into the left travel lane of the southbound traffic. The appellants’ vehicle, traveling in that lane, then collided with the rear of the plaintiff’s vehicle. According to the plaintiff’s deposition testimony, the second collision occurred one or two seconds after the first. According to the deposition testimony of the appellant Joel H. Cohen, he had no awareness that an accident was taking place until the moment his vehicle collided with the plaintiff’s.”

In dismissing plaintiff’s complaint The Court Held;

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Uninsured Motorist Coverage/Supplemental Underinsured Motorist Coverage

A. When and How It Applies:

1. Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) – Insurance Law Section 3420(f)(1) – is mandatory in New York State which makes certain that the minimum bodily insurance coverage mandated by law is available to those involved in an accident with an uninsured vehicle.