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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 Personal Injury

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In product liability cases involving allegedly defective machines such as printing presses, plastic molding machinery, power saws, power presses and innumerable others, the defense will invariably argue that it was the plaintiff’s culpable conduct which caused the accident and resulting injury. In other words, the defendant will argue that it was the plaintiff’s failure to use the machine properly or to follow warnings which caused the plaintiff’s injury. The problem confronting the plaintiff’s attorney is that plaintiff will often not have used the machine properly. Given this fact, the jury must be taught that such misuses were reasonably foreseeable and that the manufacturer knew or should have known that users are people and that people can make mistakes which must be guarded and warned against.

The deposition of the defendant’s design engineer is crucial. Defendants will often produce a risk manager on behalf of the manufacturer for deposition. This is totally unacceptable. The plaintiff’s attorney must insist that a design engineer with knowledge of the product be produced in order, among other things, to deal effectively with the affirmative defense of culpable conduct. Indeed, the deposition notice should be specific in this regard.

In order to effectively depose defendant’s design engineer with regard to the defense that the plaintiff’s negligence caused the accident, the plaintiff’s attorney must understand the concept of ergonomics as it relates to design engineering. An understanding of hazard analysis is also required. Ergonomics as it relates to machine design involves the consideration of human factors and characteristics in designing safety features into machines. The basic precept is that people make mistakes. Since this is foreseeable to the design engineer, it must be taken into consideration when designing a machine. A machine must be designed so as to reduce, as much as technologically feasible, without destroying the utility of the machine, foreseeable actions by the operator resulting in injury. In order to design a machine so as to reduce the potential of injury resulting from human error, hazard analysis must include a collection of accident and injury information. Machine design is not a stagnant event, but an ever evolving process, which requires constant review of injury data, so that modifications to the machine design may be made to eliminate predictable human behavior resulting in injury. A hazard is a condition that may cause injury. Once a hazard has been identified, the risk of injury as a result of the hazard must be reduced as much as possible while preserving the utility of the machine. A machine is dangerous when the risk of being injured by the identified hazard is unacceptable.

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In D’Amato v. Yap, et al., Decided July 8th 2008, The 2d. Department held that while plaintiffs were not entitled to Summary Judgment on liability they were entitled to a unified trial on liability and damages. The facts set forth in The Court’s opinion were as follows;

“The seven-year-old infant plaintiff, Nicholas D’Amato (hereinafter Nicholas), tripped and fell while playing with friends in the basement of the home of the defendants Medardo N. Yap and Gloria Yap, just after his friend, the defendant James Yap, shut off the light to the basement. When Mrs. Yap arrived home, one of James’s friends told her that Nicholas had fallen in the basement on some tools and hurt his eye, and showed her the spot where he had fallen. When Nicholas went home, he told his mother that he poked himself in the eye with his finger when his hand slipped on a doorknob.

The next morning, his eye was swollen shut. After seeing his pediatrician, Nicholas and his mother went to an eye specialist who sent them to the New York Eye and Ear Hospital, where they learned that his right eye had a ruptured globe and lacerated cornea. When the doctors who treated Nicholas rejected the explanation that he poked himself in the eye as inconsistent with the severity of his injuries, he told them that he tripped in James’s house and fell onto a tool which stuck him in the eye.”

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In Guzman v 4030 Bronx Blvd. Assoc. L.L.C., Appellate Division, First Department, Decided on June 19, 2008 The Court held;

“While plaintiffs’ expert is qualified to render an opinion on the extent of plaintiff Tyrone Guzman’s neurological deficits and may testify that those deficits are consistent with a history of head trauma, plaintiffs have failed to identify any evidentiary basis for the opinion sought to be elicited from the expert as to which of several accidents is the proximate cause of such deficits. Thus, his testimony as to this isolated point was properly precluded. However, we conclude that the trial court erred in dismissing this action without affording plaintiffs the opportunity to retain another expert witness to establish the nature of Tyrone Guzman’s physical injury and its cause, and we remand this matter for further proceedings.”

The lower Court had precluded the plaintiff’s neuropsychologist from testifying as to causation regarding the infant plaintiff’s head injury and dismissed the plaintiff’s case. In reversing the Court held that plaintiff’s should have been granted “……a continuance pursuant to CPLR 4402 to enable them to retain a medical expert to testify concerning causation.”

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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.

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From amnewyork By David Freedlander;

Twenty of the city’s high-rise crane returned to operation last week, but many of them are on construction sites that have received dozens of complaints and violations for unsafe working conditions.

The complaints range from the mundane to the alarming, but in the light of two deadly crane collapses this spring, both of which occurred on construction sites with a history of violations, some say any infraction raises red flags.

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Our Senior Partner Robert Conason and our Partner Rhonda Kay are contributing authors of Warren’s Negligence in the New York Courts, Second Edition.

Warren’s Negligence in the New York Courts has been a trusted authority for negligence attorneys practicing in New York for more than 60 years. It is one of the most thorough New York-specific treatises covering the key legal aspects of New York negligence law and important procedural matters for both plaintiff and defense attorneys.

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By: Anthony H. Gair and Howard S. Hershenhorn Gair Gair Conason Steigman&Mackauf

I. THE STARTING POINT

In order to maximize the eventual recovery on behalf of a plaintiff, a solid foundation supporting the damages claimed must be built. The construction of this foundation begins at the first interview with the plaintiff.