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 Wrongful Death

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accident sceneA tractor-trailer truck hit a pick up truck killing  3 of the occupants and injuring 5 other people Tuesday early morning. 51 year old Henry Walker, his 21 year old son Khalil and 3 other workers were driving from Pennsylvannia on their way to a construction job in the Hamptons.  As they were driving on the Cross Bronx Expressway near Webster Ave,  a tractor-trailer truck stopped abruptly in front of them.  Henry Walker who was driving was able to stop just behind the truck. Unfortunately another tractor-trailer just behind them wasn’t able to stop on time. He slammed into the pick up truck killing the dad, the son and one of the workers. 5 other people were injured in the crash.

Henry was a contractor from Tonyhanna, PA and his son was a communication student at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. He was working with his dad to make extra money to study in Japan.  They left behind their devastated  mother Sandy Walker. The family had just lost a daughter to diabetes last April.

Read more in the NY Daily News 

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A construction worker was pinned between a forklift and a van and died from his injuries. The forklift accident occurred  in front of a FDNY warehouse in Queens on Saturday afternoon. The 28 year old man drove the forklift in front of the warehouse in order to upload merchandise from a van. He put the forklift in neutral and stepped out. As he was walking toward the van, the forklift started to roll behind him, crushing him against the van. He was rushed to the emergency room but he died at the hospital. According to the NY Daily News, the equipment belonged to the FDNY.

Forklift accidents are unfortunately too common. 11% of the forklifts operating in the US are involved in accidents every year. Among these accidents 35,000 workers will die or suffer severe injuries and 65,000 will suffer minor injuries. Here are a few tips to prevent such accidents from happening.

 

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assan jones died in a NYC car accidentA young man died in a NYC car accident early last Saturday. Hassan Jones, a 28 year old US Army veteran, was driving with his cousin on the Grand Central Parkway in Queens when they bumped into a SUV in front of them. Both cars stopped on the side of the road. The two occupants of the SUV stepped out and as Hassan and his cousin did the same. An argument followed. One of the SUV passengers punched Jones. He fell to the ground. He was struck by a car and dragged several feet on the road. He died at the scene of the accident. After realizing what happened, the driver stopped. He panicked, abandoned his car and ran away on foot. He was later on found by the police and identified as 19 year old Starlyn Colon-Burgess. He was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident. According to the NY Daily News both cars involved in the first accident also fled the scene of the accident but the police were able to find them.

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Bianca Bennett died in a NYC crashA NYPD officer died and a sergeant was seriously injured in a car accident that occurred last week in the Bronx. 27 year old rookie officer Bianca Bennett was a passenger in a car driven by Sergeant Randolph Price. Both cops were off-duty. They were returning from a diner with friends in City Island.  Price who was speeding, lost control of his vehicle and careened into a tree stump. The car flipped upside down and burst into flames. Two other cops on their way home from the firing range saw the accident and ran to the rescue. They were able to pull Price out of the flames but it was too late to save Bennett. According to them she was so badly burned that it was impossible to determine if she was a woman or a man.  27 year old Bennett was fiancee to her high school sweetheart Micheal Coleman, they were about to get married in April. A vigil was held yesterday in the East Village. Read more in the NY Daily News

 

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464 hard hats died in construction accidents in New York State between the beginning of 2006 and the end of 2016. 55 of them died in 2015. Construction is the second most dangerous industry in NY Sate after the agricultural industry. In New York City deaths related to construction accidents represent 34% of all occupational deaths compared to 32% in Los Angeles and 24% in Chicago. Most of these deaths are preventable according to the Annual Report on Construction Fatalities in New York State published this week by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH)

Over the last few years, the boom in the construction industry led to an increase in hard hat fatalities in New York City.  25 construction workers died on the job in 2015 compared to 22 in 2014, 17 in 2013, 20 in 2013 and 17 in 2011. Over these five years, almost 60% of the fatalities were related to falls.  Other common construction accidents were related to elevator installations, electrocutions, falling objects and workers caught between equipment or machinery. From 2014 to 2015, the number of NYC construction accidents involving injury or death almost doubled, It went from 231 in 2014 to 435 in 2015.

fatal construction accidents NYC
There are only 66 OSHA inspectors in New York State. In 2014, these inspectors visited more than 2,000 construction sites. Inspectors found violations on 2 out of 3 sites visited. The most common violation was failure to protect workers from falls. The average fine was $3,673. Since August 2016, OSHA increased its fines, hoping that it may deter contractors from violating safety standards. This increase in penalties took place two months after the preventable death of 22 year old Carlos Moncayo. After the death of Moncayo, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance collaborated with construction workers advocate groups to support the use of criminal laws to prosecute negligent contractors who recklessly endangered their employees life (see previous blog). As a result, Moncayo’s employer was criminally convicted and sent  to jail.

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Construction_Accident31 people died in construction accidents in New York over the last 2 years. Injuries from construction accidents recorded by the New York City Department of Buildings increased by 250% from 2011 to 2015.  The recent construction boom in the city has contributed to this increase in hard hats deaths and injuries.

In a recent opinion in the New York Times, Dominique Bravo, director of Pathways 2 Apprenticeships, expressed his outrage at the laissez-faire attitude in regards to safety regulations in the New York construction industry. Bravo notes that while the number of construction permits issued by the DOB increased by 18% between 2100 and 2014 the number of OSHA inspectors in New York State decreased by 13% during the same period of time. They are only 71 OSHA inspectors for the entire State of New York.

INADEQUATE FALL PROTECTION IS THE MOST COMMON VIOLATION

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Trasnportation Alternatives logo9 people including 7 pedestrians and bicyclists died in NYC car crashes in the first 10 days of 2017. In a recent statement, Paul Steely White, the Transportation Alternatives Executive Director, expressed his outrage and asked the city of New York to accelerate street redesigns. He also wants the New York police to change their attitude and be more accountable.

In his statement, Steely White, noted that 7 of the 9 fatal crashes occurred in locations that have been previously identified by Vision Zero as “priority areas”.  Transportation Alternatives asks the city to allocate immediate funding to redesign these high crashes locations.

Steely White also expressed his outrage towards NYPD investigators behavior. The  NYPD has a horrible habit of blaming the victims and exonerating drivers. For example, the driver of the box truck who fatally struck Rafael Nieves last week and left the scene of the accident was let go without his case being referred to the district attorney (see previous blog). The police also didn’t charge the driver who killed 43 year old Marlon Palacios. The driver told the police his leg had become stiff and got stuck on the accelerator.  The police have the power to act as a judge and a jury while a court should make such decision.  Additionally  the police are supposed to deter dangerous driving in New York City but they often blame the victims and let go reckless drivers.

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A woman died from her injuries after being struck by a car at a Long Island gas station. 62 year old Rosalie Koenig, was pumping gas when an out of control car crashed into the gas station. Koenig was pinned between the pump and her car. The reckless driver, 53 year old Renee McKinney, lost control of her vehicle after she overdosed on heroin. She was arrested by the police and charged with driving while impaired by drugs. Koenig was transported to the hospital with critical injuries. She died the following day. The accident happened at a gas station located on William Floyd Parkway in Shirley, Long Island.

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Near Missed event visualized with BMI20% of  the workers who die at work are construction workers but they represent only 4% of the employed workforce in the US. Hard hats are among the workers that have the most risk of being injured or even dying on the job. Sadly, most of these accidents are preventable.

As technology develops, the construction industry has been relying more and more on Building Information Modeling (BIM) to develop its projects. BIM is used throughout the life cycle of a construction project to digitally monitor the design, the plan and the construction itself. BIM can also be used for safety management.

A recent short study published by the Center For Construction Research and Training shows how “near miss accidents” can be visualized in Building Information Modeling.  The authors of the study are Dr Eric Marks and Xu Chen from the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alabama.  Dr Eric Marks recently hosted a free 30 min CPWR Webinar on this subject. The webinar can be seen here.

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bicycle-and-truck-accident-locationA bicyclist was fatally struck by a cement truck in New York last Thursday. The bicyclist was heading to the Greenway and was in the crosswalk of the West Side Highway at the intersection of West 55th Street. The cement truck was driving west and was making a right turn onto the West Side Highway when it struck the victim. The driver stayed at the scene of the accident. He hasn’t been charged so far. It is not clear yet if  he failed to yield to the bicyclist. The bicyclist was found by the police unconscious at the scene of the accident with severe head and bodily trauma.

According to the Gothamist, so far this year the police recorded 21 crashes at this location with 5 people injured in 3 of them. The previous year there were 20 crashes at this intersection 4 resulting in injury. Among the people injured was another bicyclist who had been struck by a car.