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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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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OSHA logoA NY roofing contractor, Elite Roofing Services Inc., has been subjected to the second-highest OSHA fine in the fourth quarter of 2023, amounting to $522,527.

This substantial fine was levied following an accident at a Glen Cove, New York, jobsite, where a worker’s fatal fall could have been prevented with the proper implementation of fall protection measures, such as guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems. The tragedy brings to the forefront the grave consequences of neglecting safety protocols and the imperative need for vigilance and compliance to prevent such incidents.

OSHA’s findings revealed that Elite Roofing Services Inc. did not furnish its workers with the necessary fall protections while they were installing a metal deck on a flat roof, leading to a worker plummeting 20 feet to a concrete floor below. This incident resulted in the issuance of six willful violations by OSHA, each corresponding to a worker exposed to fall hazards, and one serious violation for failing to train workers on proper fall protection techniques.

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Amadou_DialloAs we mark the 25th anniversary of the tragic death of Amadou Diallo, our hearts are once again with his family and all those who have been affected by similar injustices. Amadou, an unarmed 23-year-old immigrant from Guinea, was killed on February 4, 1999, by plainclothes officers of the New York City Police Department’s Street Crime Unit. The loss of Amadou under a hail of 41 bullets, based on a grievous misjudgment, is a moment that remains etched in the memory of our city and our nation.

Our firm had the solemn privilege of representing Amadou’s family in their quest for justice and accountability. Although no legal outcome could ever compensate for the loss of a loved one, the $3 million settlement reached with the City of New York in March 2004 was a recognition of the profound wrongness of the actions that led to Amadou’s death. It was one of the largest settlements of its kind under New York State’s “wrongful death law”, highlighting the gravity of the negligence, wrongful death, racial profiling, and violations of civil rights that occurred.

The acquittal of the officers involved did not deter us from our pursuit of justice, nor did it silence the voices demanding change. Instead, it galvanized a movement towards police reform and accountability that continues to this day. The disbandment of the Street Crime Unit in 2002 and the ongoing calls for transparency and fairness in policing are testaments to the enduring impact of Amadou’s story.

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Google map view of the location of the accident before illegal work startedThe recent catastrophe in Borough Park, Brooklyn, where a 33-year-old construction worker, Juan Ganche, lost his life due to a floor collapse in a residential home, is a reminder of the critical importance of adhering to construction safety regulations. This accident, occurring under the shadow of illegal work and oversight failures, not only ended a life prematurely but also exposed the systemic issues plaguing construction sites across New York City.

Juan Ganche, a dedicated worker who had been contributing to the construction industry since his arrival in the United States from Ecuador 14 years ago, was tragically killed when the first floor of the structure he was working on collapsed into the cellar.

This accident, which marked the first construction site fatality in New York City this year, has once again brought to the forefront the perilous conditions under which many construction workers operate.

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location of the fatal NY school bus accidentAn 8-year-old boy died after being struck by a school bus in New Square, NY, last Monday morning.  The boy was walking home from school when the school bus struck him near the intersection of Clinton Lane and Stern Street. The Ramapo Police, led by Police Lt. Blaine Howell, reported that despite the rapid response of EMS workers, the boy was pronounced dead at the scene. The bus driver, who stayed and cooperated with police, now faces the harrowing aftermath of this devastating event.

This incident underscores a grim reality that too many communities face: the ever-present danger to our children on their journeys to and from school. As legal professionals specializing in school bus accidents, we have seen the profound impact these tragedies have on families and communities. They raise critical questions about road safety, school transportation protocols, and the measures we take to protect our most vulnerable.

The Ramapo Police Department’s Accident Reconstruction Team is currently investigating the specifics of this accident. These investigations are crucial, not only for providing clarity and closure to grieving families but also for identifying systemic issues that may contribute to such tragedies. It is through understanding these details that legal professionals can advocate for necessary changes, seeking justice for victims while working towards preventative measures to ensure no family endures similar heartache.

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The intersection where the unlicensed driver killed ChristianFourteen-year-old Christian Antoine was struck and killed by the reckless actions of an unlicensed and speeding driver last Saturday evening in Brooklyn, NYC. The accident occurred at the intersection of Glenwood Rd. and E. 81st St. in Canarsie.

Christian was more than just a statistic in the rising toll of pedestrian fatalities; he was a young boy with dreams, a loving family, and a future that was unjustly cut short. According to reports, 45-year-old Rayan Salmon, driving a 2018 Mercedes SUV at an unsafe speed, caused a chain-reaction crash that ultimately led to Christian’s untimely death. This incident is a reminder of the catastrophic consequences of negligent driving and the critical need for stringent enforcement of traffic laws.

As pedestrian accident lawyers in NYC, we have seen the aftermath of such tragedies unfold too many times. Families are left to navigate their grief while grappling with the legal complexities of seeking justice for their loved ones. In Christian’s case, the charges against Salmon for aggravated unlicensed operation underscore the severe risks unlicensed drivers pose to public safety. However, these charges are just the beginning of a long legal journey for Christian’s family to seek accountability and compensation for their loss.

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courage-to-intervene-promise-wsl-nrsf-final3This week is National Passenger Safety Week. Initiated by We Save Lives and the National Road Safety Foundation, the National Passenger Safety Campaign is a groundbreaking movement. It unites over 60 organizations in a common belief: passengers must actively participate in ensuring their safety and that of others. The campaign’s message is simple yet powerful – encourage passengers to “SPEAK UP” against reckless driving.

A glance at the statistics from 2020 is sobering

  • Approximately 16% of all traffic fatalities were passengers.
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accident-scene-1Early Sunday morning, a 23-year-old driver, showing off dangerous ‘doughnuts’ at a car stunt gathering, lost control and collided with a parked fuel truck. Two passengers died, 15-year-old Sabrina Villagomez and 21-yer-old Gilvante “Gio” Roberson while another passenger suffered critical injury. The driver is in stable condition.

This incident isn’t just about a single act of irresponsible driving. It’s a glaring example of how fleeting moments of thrill-seeking can lead to irreversible consequences. The driver’s decision to perform risky stunts on public roads, especially at such high speeds, was a recipe for disaster. It not only endangered his life but also those of his passengers and any bystander in the vicinity.

The loss of young Sabrina and Gio, is a grim reminder of the fragility of life. Sabrina’s death should make us all pause and think about the influence our social circles have on our decisions, particularly in our youth.

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Queens Boulevard, once notoriously dubbed “the Boulevard of Death,” has seen a remarkable turnaround. In 1997, this street was a pedestrian nightmare, claiming 18 lives. However, since Vision Zero’s implementation in 2014, fatalities have drastically reduced, with some years witnessing zero deaths.

ThAtlantic Avenueis transformation didn’t happen by chance. It was the result of a concerted effort by the city, involving adjustments in pedestrian signal timings, road safety improvements, and the introduction of bike lanes. These measures not only enhanced safety but also fostered a more pedestrian and cyclist-friendly environment.

However, Atlantic Avenue tells a different story. Despite being another major NYC artery, it hasn’t received the same level of attention or intervention. The result is alarming: in the last decade, Atlantic Avenue has witnessed 40 traffic deaths, a number four times higher than that of Queens Boulevard. This stark contrast exemplifies the uneven application of Vision Zero across the city.

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Bronx location of the fatal hit and run accidentLourdes Camilo, a Bronx resident, was fatally injured in a hit-and-run accident at the intersection of Melrose Avenue and East 156th Street. This incident underscores the importance of road safety and the consequences of traffic law violations. It also reflects on the necessity for enhanced pedestrian protection measures.

The involvement of two vehicles – a white SUV that fled and a green Jeep Cherokee that stayed – brings forth different legal considerations.

1. Liability in Hit-and-Run: The driver of the white SUV, who left the scene, is subject to significant legal ramifications under New York law. Fleeing the scene of an accident, particularly one involving fatality, is a criminal offense.