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 Personal Injury

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carbon monoxide danger signNine construction workers were hospitalized after they suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning last week in Manhattan. The construction workers were putting down concrete in a very small confined space in the foundations of a construction site located at 30 E. 29th St. in Manhattan. The site is the future location of a 639-foot-tall luxury residential art Deco-Inspired skyscraper developed by the Rockefeller Group.
A gasoline generator that was also running in the same space to provide electrical power poisoned the workers with carbon monoxide fumes. Gasoline generators that are releasing carbon monoxide are not supposed to be used indoors or in places that are not ventilated. Carbon monoxide can not be smelled but it can kill in minutes.  Warning signs of Carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to flu or cold symptoms and include weakness, fainting, dizziness, headache, nausea and shortness of breath.
The FDNY received a first call for a sick worker around 4:30 pm. The worker was feeling ill and dizzy. When they arrived other workers who had been able to get out of the underground space by themselves were also feeling sick. Two of their colleagues however were so ill that they had to be lifted up by the firefighters. A total of 65 firefighters and paramedics had to be called to the rescue to extricate the workers safely from the confined space.
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Elevator Accident Deaths in ConstructionIn 2017 24,890 people who suffered personal injury in an escalator or elevator accident were treated in American hospitals, compared to 25,951 in 2016 and 19,005 in 2007. The number of elevator accident injuries has been on the rise over the last 10 years in the US.

Fatalities related to elevator and escalator accidents are less common and occur mostly on construction sites. According to the Quarterly Report recently published by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) 28 workers died in elevator accidents on construction sites in 2016 compared to 14 in 2003. The number of workers dying in elevator accidents has been on a rising trend since 2003 with a peak at 37 in 2015.

The workers who are the most at risk of dying in an elevator accidents are those who are constructing, assembling or dismantling elevators. They represent 40% of the elevator accidents fatalities in construction. Workers who are operating heavy equipment and workers in charge of the repair and the maintenance are also at risk of dying in elevator accidents. They both represent 20% of the elevator accident fatalities suffered by construction workers.

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FrostbiteAs New York hospitals are gearing up for an increased number of patients visiting the emergency room for cold related injuries it is important that physicians and nurses be up to date with proper management of cold injuries as medical malpractice such as failure to diagnose and timely treat systemic hypothermia can be fatal.

In a recent article published in Medscape, Blair Peters, MD (Resident Physician, Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine, Canada) and  Edward W Buchel, MD (Associate Professor of Surgery, Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine; Head, Consulting Staff, Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, Canada) provide an in depth analysis of the various types of cold injuries and the most appropriate manner to treat them.

Systemic hypothermia needs immediate treatment

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NYC Motor vehicle accidents injuries reached a record high in 2018. 1,083 pedestrians, 4,281 cyclists, 18,687 passengers and 26,843 motorists suffered personal injury in a crash in New York City in 2018. 60,646 people were injured in NYC traffic accidents in 2018 compared to 58,990 in 2017 and 54,818 in 2013. Over the last five years the number of traffic injuries increased by more than 10%. The main reason for this increase are motorists injured in auto accidents often related to distracted driving. Distracted driving is the number one cause of crashes in New York.

Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries NYC 2018
The total number of traffic fatalities in New York City in 2018 was below 200 for the first time since Vision Zero was implemented. 112 pedestrians, 70 motorists, 9 cyclists and 8 passengers were killed in traffic accidents in the city in 2018. Annual traffic fatalities declined by more than 30% since 2013.

traffic fatalities New York 2018
The total number of crashes in the city has been culminating above 227,000 for the last 3 years with a record 227,924 accidents in 2018. Driver inattention is the primary cause of accidents followed by driver following too closely. Backing unsafely and changing lanes unsafely are two other common causes of accidents in the city. Since 2013 auto accidents increased by 12%.

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helpOn January 28 2019, there was a major development for those who have been victims of sexual abuse as children. Both chambers of the New York State Legislature passed the Child Victims Act, which has been sent to Governor Cuomo for his signature.

The Child Victims Act extends the current statute of limitations for childhood sex abuse that occurred in the state of New York. Under the new law, prosecutors will be able to bring criminal charges against sexual abusers until the victim is 28 years old. The act also allows victims to bring a lawsuit in civil court against their abusers until the age of 55.

In addition, the act allows a one-year window, starting six months from the effective date of the act, for past victims of child sexual abuse to initiate lawsuits against their abusers and the public and private institutions that let the abuse happen. Further, the act eliminates the Notice of Claim requirement for bringing suits against public institutions both prospectively and during the one-year window for past victims.

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Protect construction workers from winter injuriesDuring the winter, New York construction workers face difficult conditions  that put them at risk of specific injuries. Contractors are responsible for their workers safety and they should take extra precautions to protect them from cold related injuries.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) just released a serie of infographics in English and Spanish that can be used by contractors to make sure their employees are taking special precautions to protect themselves from winter injuries.

Workers should dress appropriately and contractors should make sure that they provide a heated area for their workers where they can take frequent breaks and drink plenty of warm and sweet beverages. Caffeine and of course alcohol should be avoided.

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US deaths from Methylene ChlorideMethylene Chloride is a dangerous product that has previously caused the death of many people. Short term exposure to methylene chloryde can cause mental confusion, nausea, vomiting , headache and death in the worst cases. In the long term, workers exposed to it can develop cancer, nervous system problems, toxicity in their kidney, liver and reproductive system.Major retailers such as Lowes and Home Depot have removed it from their shelves even before the EPA finalized a ban proposal that was published one day before President Obama left office.  In Europe the deadly chemical was pulled from general use in 2011.

Last May, Scott Pruit confirmed that the EPA was committed to finalize the proposed methylene chloride ban however last month the EPA drafted two new final rules that would ban the use of methylene chloryde to regular consumers but not to commercial operators.  Two new final rules drafted by the EPA allow the usage of the dangerous product for commercial use as long as the workers using it have been trained.  These rules that have not been made public yet but that have been sent by the EPA to the Office of Management and Budget have sparked the furor of public health advocates and and of congressional Democrats. This is a major step back compared to the proposed rule announced by the EPA during the Obama era.

Workers specialized in refinishing bathtubs are the most at risk of dying from Methylene Chloride exposure

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When  the temperature goes down in New York City the risk of fire accidents increases.

Several people were injured during this long cold weekend in fires that erupted all over New York.

On Saturday morning around 10:00 am 7 people including one resident and 6 firefighters were injured in a five-alarm fire that destroyed a building located on Atlantic Avenue between New Jersey Avenue and Vermont Street in the Brooklyn neighborhood  of Cypress Hills. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. It started in a store in the first floor and then spread to residential floors above. 20 residents had to be evacuated. One of them was injured. Among the six firefighters injured many of them suffered frost bite injuries. 13 people lost their homes.

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Snow Blowers can be dangerousInjuries related to Snow Blower accidents are among the most gruesome injuries related to snow storm hazards. As New Yorkers are gearing up for a massive snow storm this week-end, many home owners will use a snow blower to clean their driveway or sidewalk. The use of a snow blower can speed up and facilitate snow removal but it can cause severe injuries if people are not careful. Thousands of people are missing fingers because they were injured in a snowblower accident. According to statistics, the typical patient visiting the ER after a snow blower accident is a 44 year old male with amputation of the tip of the fingers with the middle one being the most commonly amputated. Typically the patient has been removing some heavy wet snow, exactly like the one expected in New York on Sunday morning, and his machine got clogged. He then tries to unclog the snowblower using his hand, the blade rotates and the accident occurs. Even if the machine is off the blade can still rotate and that’s how many people get injured. They believe that because the machine is turned off they are safe.

Fingers amputations are the most common snowblower injuries

Please never use your hands to unclog your snow blower! Many manufacturers are providing special devices to unclog snow blowers and you should use them!A snowblower injury can alter your life forever. While a few people only lose a little bit of skin off the tip of the fingers, most people sustained much more severe injuries that involve bone, tendons or joints.  Amputations are  frequent and the less soft tissue left covering the finger the more the surgeon will have to cut in the bone. Partial or complete amputation of one or several fingers can have life changing repercussions. For people who are using their hands for their vocation such as surgeons or pianists it can have dramatic consequences.

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New-York-School-Zone-Speed-CameraSpeed cameras have proven their efficiency in reducing car accidents as well as  pedestrian injuries and deaths. As part of the Vision Zero Program, 140 speed cameras were installed nearby schools all over the city. The installation of the cameras led to a decline of 63% of  speeding in school zones and pedestrian injuries decreased by 23%.

Based on this successful record the city asked the NY Senate for more cameras but New York State Senators refused to vote on a bill to continue the program and increase the number of cameras in NYC school zones to 290. As a result, all the 140 cameras were shut off in the middle of last summer.

After that episode, the Mayor signed a new city bill at the beginning of September to not only preserve but also expand the use of speed cameras in school zones. In order for the bill to become law, Cuomo declared a state of emergency and so far has been renewing the emergency order every month. The bill provided no cap on the number of speed cameras that the city was permitted to deploy.  The result of a collaborative effort between City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, the bill can only expire after the state legislature passes a “photo speed violation monitoring program in the City of New York that is identical to, substantially similar to or more expansive in scope than the program that would result from the enactment of A. 7798-C, as passed by the New York state assembly on June 18, 2018.”