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 Premises Liability

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New York City aging buildings at risk of collapseIn a monumental move to safeguard New York City’s residents, the City Council has passed a bill mandating proactive inspections for residential buildings based on their structural risks. As building collapse attorneys in New York City, this development is not only welcome but long overdue. The city’s new initiative promises to prevent tragedies by identifying potential hazards before they become catastrophic failures.

A Shift from Reactive to Proactive

Historically, New York City’s approach to building safety has been largely reactive, relying on complaints and reports of visible damage before taking action. This method has proven insufficient, as evidenced by recent incidents of structural collapses that have caused significant disruption and loss.

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DOB NYCAs building collapse attorneys based in New York City, we are deeply concerned about the recent findings concerning the parking garage collapse in Lower Manhattan. More than a year has passed since this tragic event, and the root cause remains undetermined, highlighting significant gaps in our city’s approach to building safety and regulation.

The recent declaration by the Department of Buildings (DOB) that the Ann Street parking garage did not fail due to overloading is a critical piece of information. It suggests that other factors, possibly related to the structural integrity of the building itself, might have led to the collapse. Notably, University of Arizona engineering professor Sammy Tin speculated that the garage’s condition at the time of collapse might have been a contributing factor, despite the walls and pillars appearing pristine and undamaged.

It’s alarming to learn that prior to the collapse, there were open violations dating back to 2003 and 2009 for issues such as loose or missing concrete. These findings were brought to light almost immediately after the collapse by investigative journalists. This raises significant concerns about the enforcement of building codes and the efficacy of the inspections process in New York City.

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New York City aging buildings at risk of collapseIn the aftermath of the recent earthquake that shook New York City, concerns about the structural integrity of the city’s aging infrastructure have once again surged to the forefront of public consciousness. Even before the seismic event, many New Yorkers harbored apprehensions regarding the resilience of buildings that form the fabric of their daily lives. As a leading law firm specializing in premises liability, Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf (GGCRBHS&M) provides a unique perspective on the potential dangers lurking in the aftermath of such natural disasters.

New York City is home to approximately 1.1 million buildings, many of which were erected before modern safety standards were implemented in the 1990s. These older structures, particularly unenforced brick buildings, are deemed to be at the highest risk in the event of seismic activities. While the United States Geological Survey has assured the public that the recent earthquake was not powerful enough to inflict major damage, the event has undeniably heightened awareness and concern among residents and property owners alike.

In response, city officials and inspectors have ramped up efforts to assess the condition of buildings, focusing on construction sites and responding to complaints from the public. Structural engineers emphasize the importance of vigilant observation, advising property owners to note any new cracks in the floors, ceilings, and walls.

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Fazil Khan victim of a lithium battery explosionIn an urgent response to the rising threat posed by lithium-ion battery fires, New York City Council has enacted two new e-bike safety regulations. This legislative action, motivated by a tragic fire in Harlem sparked by a lithium-ion battery, underscores the city’s commitment to addressing the dangers associated with these batteries. The fire accident, which claimed the life of 27-year-old Fazil Khan, a young journalist,  and critically injured four others, has catalyzed a city-wide discourse on the safety of e-mobility devices.

The first rule mandates that businesses selling e-bikes and e-scooters must display safety information regarding the storage of lithium-ion batteries both in-store and online. This is a critical measure aimed at educating the public on proper battery handling to mitigate fire risks. The second regulation intensifies the crackdown on the sale of non-UL-certified batteries by enhancing penalties for illegal sales and bolstering city enforcement. These steps, while significant, are part of a broader call for comprehensive federal legislation to ensure the sale of only certified batteries across the United States.

Parallel to these legislative efforts, New York City is pioneering a solution to one of the most pressing issues related to e-bike safety: battery charging. The city has launched a pilot program to establish public e-bike charging hubs in Manhattan and Brooklyn, offering a safer alternative to charging batteries indoors. The initiative kicked off with the unveiling of the first hub at Cooper Square in the East Village.

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Last week in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a 74-year-old woman lost her life in a manner that no one should ever have to fear: struck down by falling debris from her own home. A large chunk of decorative brick façade, stationed above the entrance door of a three-story brownstone at 5402 6th Ave. and 54th Street, plummeted to the ground. At the time, the victim was clearing snow from the steps of her residence. Surveillance footage captured the moment the façade began to give way, leading to her urgent transportation to Maimonides Medical Center, where she was tragically pronounced dead. This incident not only took a life but also raised alarming questions about the structural integrity and maintenance of aging buildings in our urban landscapes.

The Department of Buildings’ subsequent investigation revealed a distressing oversight, resulting in a Vacate Order for the building and a violation issued to the property owner for failure to maintain the structure. These actions, while necessary, serve as a cold comfort to those affected by this tragedy and highlight a pervasive issue in our city’s housing maintenance and safety protocols.

falling-debrislawyerBen-RubinowitzA few years ago, our falling debris attorneys represented the family of  2-year-old Greta Green who was killed in front of her grandmother’s eye by a decorative terra cotta piece that broke and fell 8 stories from an Upper West Side Building. This event brought to light the limitations of New York State’s “zone of danger” law, which initially excluded grandparents from claiming emotional damages for witnessing a family member’s death. The grandmother’s claim was initially dismissed, but the persistent efforts of our attorneys led to a landmark decision by the Court of Appeals, which reversed the dismissal. This case not only reinstated the grandmother’s claim but also set a precedent for including grandparents in the “zone of danger” damages while underscoring the firm’s dedication to changing laws to achieve justice and encouraging landlords and building owners to maintain their properties to prevent such tragedies.

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carbon monoxide danger signTen individuals were hospitalized due to carbon monoxide poisoning at a residence on Roosevelt Ave. This event underscores the silent but deadly threat posed by carbon monoxide (CO) in urban dwellings. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled in large quantities. Properties in New York City are not immune to this hazard, making it imperative for property owners, landlords, and tenants to understand their legal responsibilities and rights.

Legal Duties and Responsibilities

In New York City, property owners and landlords are legally obligated to ensure their buildings are safe and comply with local, state, and federal safety standards. This includes installing carbon monoxide detectors in accordance with the New York City Administrative Code, which mandates CO detectors in most residential dwellings. Failure to install and maintain these detectors can result in legal consequences, including fines and liability for any injuries or deaths that occur due to non-compliance.

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The recent heartbreaking incident in Midwood, Brooklyn, where a baby tragically lost their life due to a steam radiator malfunction, has raised numerous concerns regarding premises liability and the safety standards in residential buildings.

A baby in Midwood, Brooklyn, suffered fatal injuries after being exposed to steam from a malfunctioning radiator. According to the Department of Buildings, the radiator exploded due to a separation in the part that connected the pipe feeding steam to the radiator. The mother, attending to another child in a different room, found the room filled with steam, likely exceeding 200 degrees.

Duty of Care

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The-bilding-that-collapsed-in-the-BronxA building collapsed in the Bronx on Monday, leaving community in turmoil, displacing scores of residents and causing emotional and physical upheaval. Residents initially mistook the sounds and vibrations for routine occurrences. Some believed it was the wind, while others attributed it to construction work below. It wasn’t until the situation escalated, with walls literally crumbling around them, that the magnitude of the disaster became apparent.

While it is fortunate that there were no fatalities and only minor injuries, the emotional toll and loss of personal possessions are devastating for the affected families. Many have been left homeless and uncertain about their future.

The accounts of residents paint a grim picture of the conditions inside the building prior to its collapse

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Monterey garage in UWS has structural issuesThe recent collapse of a parking garage in Lower Manhattan, which resulted in the loss of a life and injuries to several individuals, has raised concerns about the safety and condition of parking structures throughout New York. In response, city officials conducted inspections of numerous garages, uncovering widespread structural problems that have been allowed to persist for years. This blog explores the findings of The New York Times’ investigation into the state of these garages, shedding light on the hazards faced by both employees and customers.

The investigation by The New York Times has revealed that serious structural issues are prevalent among parking garages across the city. Crumbling ceilings, exposed and rusting reinforcing bars, and other defects have been identified in over three dozen garages including the Monterey Garage in the UWS where the DOT documented that a 12 by 18-inch chunk of concrete fell from the ceiling. Shockingly, many of these garages have continued to operate despite the documented hazards. In some cases, inspections uncovered garages that were exceeding their capacity, with exits blocked on multiple levels due to overcrowding.

Neglected Violations

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parking garage collapses in NYCOn Tuesday afternoon, a parking garage on Ann Street in Lower Manhattan collapsed, resulting in the death of one person and injuring five others. The collapse caused cars to pancake on top of one another, sending rubble from the top deck down to street level. Videos and pictures from the scene showed the extent of the damage, with dust rising from the wreckage.

As premises liability attorneys in New York City, it is alarming to see accidents like this happen. It is the responsibility of property owners to ensure that their premises are safe for those who use them, including visitors and employees. The collapse of the parking garage raises questions about the safety measures in place, maintenance of the structure, and whether there were any prior warnings of potential issues.

The building had open violations dating from 2003