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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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10 pedestrians, 8 passengers and 6 drivers died in crashes in New York City in February. No cyclists fatalities were reported to the NYPD during this month. 266 bus accidents, 577 truck accidents and 56 motorcycle accidents were reported among the total 7,261 motor vehicle collisions recorded in February.

Traffic accident fatalities in New York City reached a record high for the month of February with 24 people dying in traffic accidents compared to respectively 10, 17, 12, 16, 13, 18, 15, 12 and 20 in February 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  Traffic accident fatalities in the city last February were even higher than what they were in February 2013 before Vision Zero started.  The  trendline which had been steadily declining during Vision Zero is now almost flat. Since last February ,monthly car accident fatalities have been at the level of the trendline or above which is quite unusual and quite worrisome.

Car accident fatalities February 22
The high number of car accident fatalities in New York City last February is mostly due to a record high number of car passengers fatalities (see category in red in the graph below, click on it for full size). 8 motor vehicle passengers died in crashes last February compared to 5 in January 2020 and 2 in February 2021. Since Vision Zero started and even a year before, the highest total monthly passengers fatalities were 6 in April 2014 and 6 in July 2015.

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Personal Injury Attorney Ben RubinowitzOur managing partner, New York Personal Injury Attorney Ben Rubinowitz will be a speaker at the Master of Advocacy program that will take place during the Boardwalk Seminar 2022 organized by the New Jersey Association for Justice on Wednesday April 27, 2022 from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Ben will be speaking about the Use of Case Framing at Pretrial and at Trial. This portion of the program will focus on the bridge between cross examination and final argument. These case framing techniques will show you new and innovative ways to:

• Build powerful arguments for summation during cross examination

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fall prevention posterLast year, 7 out of the 9 NYC construction worker deaths reported by the Department of Buildings were caused by falls. Additionnally the DOB also reported that 194 workers were injured in fall accidents on New York City construction sites during the same period. This was a record high compared to the previous years (see previous blog). Despite increased safety training requirements for workers, fall remains the number one cause of accident deaths and injuries in the New York construction industry and nationally as well. According to the most recent statistics from the BLS 351 out of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded nationally in 2020 were fall fatalities. Most of these accidents were preventable.

Preventing fall accidents is the reason why, every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in collaboration with multiple other partners involved in workplace safety such as the CPWR and NORA are organizing a National Stand Down during which employers are invited to voluntarily take a break from work and sit down with their workers to discuss or participate to activities  related to fall hazards.

Anyone can participate and every year sees more and more participants from major corporate construction companies to small contractors, including the US Army and other governmental participants. All employers  participating receive a certificate.

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location where the car jumped the curb in Brooklyn6 pedestrians were injured in a car accident in NYC yesterday morning. A driver jumped the curb at the intersection of St. Johns Place and Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn, a little bit before 8:00 am. This is the time during which parents are bringing their children to school. A video below shows one of the victims crossing the street with his two children just before the driver looses control of his vehicle and jumps the curb at a high rate of speed. The 48 year old father and his two sons that are 9 year old and 11 year old were struck by the car. They sustained serious injuries but are in stable condition. Another woman got pinned between the car and a pole. A total of 5 people were rushed to the hospital with serious injuries and another person was treated at the scene for minor injuries. The police arrested the driver of the car but it is not clear if he will be charged. The accident occurred just one day after the police announced that the mother who was struck by a driver jumping the curb in Harlem a week earlier had died from her injuries, leaving behind her 6 year old son. (see previous blog) .

Earlier during the week, 7 people were injured in a car accident that occurred on the Brooklyn Bridge. The crash involved multiple cars and according to witnesses was “surreal”. A vehicle went airborne. A driver was critically injured after being ejected from his car.  6 other people were seriously injured and transported to the hospital. Tourists who were walking on the bridges aid they witnessed a horrific scene of wrecked cars and multiple bodies lying all over the ground.  The police is still investigating the accident and said that previous to the crash the man who was ejected from his car was driving his white jeep at a high rate of speed but so far they could not confirm that he caused the accident. Read more in News Week

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location of the MTA and scooter accidetn in Ridgewood Queens NYCA 15 year old boy riding a scooter in Queens NYC was critically injured in an accident with a MTA BUS. So far the police are still investigating the accident and did not provide any information as how the collision occurred. The NYPD only said that the boy was riding the electric scooter near the intersection of Seneca and Gates Aves. in Ridgewood (see picture) when he was struck by the bus. He suffered severe body trauma and was rushed to the hospital.  (read more in the NY Daily News)

Motorcyclist injured in hit and run has to investigate his own accident

Another motorcyclist was injured last week-end after he was struck  by a hit and run driver who pulled out of a parking space and struck him. A surveillance video shows 35 year old Franck Guzman riding his motorcycle south bound on Boston Road when a driver  pulling out of a parking area and crossing though traffic hit him. Guzman went flying in the air while the driver sped away and disappeared. Guzman could not stand up and was transported to the hospital to be treated. The police told him they would come to see him but never showed up.

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New York Personal Injury Lawyer Rich SteigmanOur partner, New York Personal Injury Lawyer Richard Steigman, will be  giving a detailed overview of the provisions of the Speaking Agents Act (S.7093/A.8040), which became law on December 31, 2021 in a webinar organized by the New York State Trial Lawyers Institute (NYSTLI) on April 13 from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The webinar is free and informative only and no CLE credits will be offered.

The Speaking Agent Act “amends the rules of evidence to permit the admission of an opposing party’s statement if made by an agent or employee made within the scope of that relationship and during the existence of that relationship.”  This key legislation that was signed a few months ago by Governor Kathy Hochul  creates a new section of the Civil Procedure Law rules and ensures that a statement by an employee or party’s agent is admissible when it relates to a matter that occurs within the scope of the employment. Additionnally, the new law also ensures that the statement made by by an employee or party’s agent can be heard by juries based on their relevance to the case.

Previous to this amendment, employees  statements, even when relevant to the case could only be accepted as evidence if they were made by a “speaking agent” who was a high level management person or the business manager or owner. This rules has lead to multiple unfair rulings over the years.  For example, in 1974, a statement by a store employee that he had asked someone to clean the spill was excluded by the Court of Appeals, because the plaintiff did not prove that the employee had the authority to speak on behalf of the defendant (Tyrrell v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 97 N.Y.2d 650, 762 N.E.2d 921, 737 N.Y.S.2d 43, 2001 N.Y. LEXIS 3421).

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location of the Harlem accidentA mother and her son were critically injured in a horrific car accident in NYC yesterday afternoon that was caught on video surveillance (see below) .The 38 year-old mother was walking and holding the hand of her 6 year old son on a  Harlem sidewalk when the driver of a car lost control of his vehicle, jumped the curb at high speed and mowed them down. They were both critically injured and rushed to the hospital. The 69-year-old driver driver was also injured and according to the police he might have suffered a medical episode.

The accident occurred in the middle of the afternoon right by the West 145th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard bus stop. The video surveillance shows the red car jumping the curb and driving on the sidewalk at a high rate of speed  right behind the unsuspicious mom and her son.  After hitting them, the car then destroyed a flower shop and a few other vehicles.

Witnesses are still horrified by what they saw and are still wondering what can be done to prevent such horrifying accidents. Police are still investigating the accident and at this point it is still unclear what kind of medical episode the driver suffered.

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Construction accident fatalities and injuries in New York City in 2021 were a little bit higher than in 2020 but lower than during the years preceding the Covid19 crisis according to the New York City Department of Buildings statistics.  The DOB only reports construction worker fatalities that are caused by  building code violations. Brooklyn and Manhattan had the most fatalities, 3 each while the other boroughs all recorded one fatality each for a total of 9 worker fatalities compared to 8 in 2020 and 11 in 2019.

Construction accident deaths NYC 2021
7 out of the 9 hard hat deaths were caused by fall and 2 of them were caused by accidents related to mechanical construction equipment failure. Despite construction workers now being required to follow safety training, fall related fatalities were at their highest since 2017. Most fall accidents are preventable. They usually occur when safety rules are not respected.

Factors in New York construction worker deaths in 2021
Almost the same number of injuries were reported to the DOB in 2021 compared to 2020. 505 workers were injured in construction accidents in New York City in 2021 compared to 502 a year earlier and 596 in 2019. Most injuries’ occurred on Manhattan construction sites (300) followed by Brooklyn (105), Bronx (48), Queens (45) and Staten Island (7).

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Grand Street bike lane67 people were injured in bicycle accidents on the Grand Street bike lane in Brooklyn since it was implemented in 2019. The bike lane is only protected by plastic bollards and as a results is constantly obstructed by vehicles  illegally parking on it.   The Grand Street bike  lane is one of the busiest bike lanes in Brooklyn and is used on a daily basis by numerous cyclists commuting between Bushwick and downtown Manhattan though the Williamsburg bridge.

Before being elected, Eric Adams promised he would add 300 miles of protected bike lanes in all five boroughs

After his election, the mayor also promised he would reinforce 20 miles of bollard protected bike lanes in the first 100 days of his tenure.  This promise no longer applies and the DOT has now announced that this task would be finished by 2023.

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hospital patientEvery year the ECRI institute releases a list of top main concerns that may lead to patient harm and medical malpractice. While cybersecurity was one of the main concerns in the previous years, the ongoing Covid 19 crisis put a lot of pressure on hospital staffing and “staffing shortages” is now at the top of the concerns  followed by worker’s mental health and racial disparity in treatments.

The pandemic emphasized concerns that were already latent in the American healthcare system but that have worsened during the pandemic:

  1. Staffing shortages: the registered nurses median age is 52 year old with 20% of them being older than 65 year old. Young nurses are needed but nursing schools are missing proper resources such as faculty, clinical sites, classroom spaces and budget. As a result 80,407 nursing school applicants were turned down in 2019.  In the coming years, staff shortages will be experienced at all levels of the healthcare system from nursing assistants to technicians such as laboratory technicians as well as critical care doctors, hospitalists, pharmacists and respiratory therapists.