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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Despite an increase in bicycle accident fatalities and in motorist injuries the total number of NYC motor vehicle accidents and the total number of resulting injuries and deaths decreased during the third trimester of 2019 compared to the third trimester of 2018. The total number of accidents declined from 57,642 during the third trimester of 2018 to 52,567 during the third trimester of 2019. This is the lowest number of crashes since the same period of 2014.

auto accident NYC third trimester 2019
While a high number of fatal bicycle accidents painted a very negative picture of New York street safety, not all numbers are bad. For example pedestrians fatalities were at their lowest during the period of July, August and September 2019. Motorists fatalities were lower than the two previous years during this same period and passengers fatalities were stable.

traffic fatalities in NYC third trimester
The total number of auto accident related injuries were slightly lower than the previous year. A total of 167,083 people were injured in traffic accidents during over the summer 2019 compared to respectively 16,300, 15,860, 16,048, 13,998, 13,472, and 14,900 during the same 3 months of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. Motorists injuries account for almost half of the injuries and continue to increase. While efforts to protect pedestrians has led to a substantial decrease in pedestrian injuries and deaths, distracted driving remains the number one cause of  motor vehicle accidents in New York City and needs to be addressed.

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location of the bicycle and dump truck accidentA 25 year old cyclist was killed by a garbage truck in New York early Sunday morning. Matt Travis is the 28th person to die in a bicycle accident in New York City this year. Matt was riding South on the Willis Ave Bridge bike path when a dump truck made an illegal U-turn to get on the bridge from a service road (technically 1st Avenue, see map) and fatally struck him. The driver then fled the scene of the accident. The police indicated that they are looking for him but they haven’t released any information yet.

Matt was found by the police lying on the street with severe trauma. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Matt Travis was a rising star pro wrestler and a student at the House of Glorty Wrestling School in Queens. He was recently interviewed by Vice magazine about his passion. Friends and fans have been posting tributes to the young man on social media and at the location of the accident.

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Donna Strum was fatally struck by a cyclistOn April 24th, 41 year old Dameon Doward was riding his bike on 57th Street.  He ran a red light at the mid-block traffic signal between Fifth and Sixth Ave and struck Donna Sturm who was crossing the street in the crosswalk after the light turned green for pedestrians. Sturm died two week later from her injuries. Daemon Doward  was initially issued a summons for running the red light. However, he was arrested yesterday by the police and charged with second degree reckless endangerment, a top level misdemeanor that could send him in jail for a year.

Doward was delivering food at the time of the accident. Those who hire bicyclists for deliveries of their products need to provide safety instructions, appropriate supervision and insurance coverage in the event of negligence leading to injuries and deaths.

Our managing partner, Ben Rubinowitz is representing the family of Dona Sturm and the following statement was issued after her death on behalf of the family:  “Donna Sturm was a vibrant, energetic and wonderful woman who died as a result of carelessness and negligence. She died because a bicyclist completely disregarded the law. She was crossing a street, in the crosswalk, with the light in her favor when she was struck. Unfortunately, she suffered horrific head injuries and, although the doctors tried their best over the last week, they were unable to save her life,”

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Bed sleeper12 children died in the US after parents used a bed sleeper. Bed sleepers seem to be a convenient solution for parents who want to be close to their babies at night and especially for mothers during nighttime breastfeeding. However a recent article from Consumer Reports indicates that because there are no federal safety standards regulations for this category of products, they might not be safe. Some of them do feature dangerous features for young babies such as padding and soft surfaces that can lead to suffocation if the baby’s face comes in contact with them. The 12 deaths recorded between 2012 and 2018 were related to the following models:

  • The Baby Delight Snuggle Nest Infant Sleeper is responsible for the deaths of 3 children.
  • 2 children died while they were sleeping in the The SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper
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Location of the fatal bicycle accidentAn 87 year old cyclist who was struck by a car in New York City last week died from his injuries. While the police blame the accident on the victim saying that he blew a red light, witnesses told the NY Daily News that the bicyclist had the right of way and that the car driver blew a red light.

The accident occurred last Tuesday at the intersection of Avenue P and Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. The cyclist was riding west on Avenue P and was struck by the car as he was in the crosswalk. One of the witness, a female pedestrian, told the News that she was also about to cross the street after the light turned green in favor of the pedestrians when a black minivan zoomed out of nowhere, ran the red light and hit the cyclist. The witness saw the cyclist falling on the top of the car and said there was blood everywhere. The 36-year-old driver stayed at the scene of the accident and was not charged. The police maintained he had the green light.

The elderly cyclist was transported to the hospital in critical condition. He died from his injuries a few days later.

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So many New Yorkers have been injured or died in traffic accidents on Queens Boulevard that it has been nicknamed the “Boulevard of Death”. Fixing and redesigning Queens Boulevard to make it safer was one of the priorities of the Vision Zero program launched in 2014.  The plan to redesign the boulevard was approved and launched in 2015. While part of the boulevard has been redesigned, a whole area from Yellow Stone Boulevard to Union Turnpike that has a dangerous records of accidents was never addressed. As the mayor’s office wouldn’t update residents as to when the project would be finished, safety advocates held a rally on Sunday pressing de Blasio to complete its work in one of the most deadly areas in the city. Residents feel like they have been lied to and abandoned said a mother who lost her son after he was hit by a truck in this dangerous segment of Queens Boulevard. The redesign of Queens Boulevard between Yellow Stone Boulevard and Union Turnpike includes the addition of a protected bike lane and safety features for pedestrians. In the areas of Queens Boulevard that were redesigned, 3 people died in traffic accidents since 2015 compared to up to 25 people per year before the redesign. Pedestrian accidents decreased by 55% and pedestrian injuries by 63%.

Corruption claims

Not everybody is in favor of the redesign and according to an article in NY Streetblog, activists are claiming that Mayor de Blasio made a secret deal with a Queens council member to stop the completion of the protected bike lane. Activists and Council member Jimmy Van Brammer are alleging that Council Member Karen Koslowitz signed a secret pact with de Blasio that she would vote for his proposal to close Rikers Island if he would put a stop to the redesign of the Boulevard of Death.

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The number of traffic accidents in NYC recorded by the NYPD in August was the lowest recorded during the month of August since 2013. It is a “good surprise” since NYC traffic accidents have been on a steady rise over the last years. However while the number of accidents significantly declined from 19,272 in August 2018  to 16,954, in August 2019 the number of people injured in these accidents barely declined from 5,373 to 5,366 and the number of fatalities increased from 16 to 21. The ratio of injuries compared to the number of accidents reached a record high of 32% compared to 28% the same month a year earlier. The ratio of deaths compared to the number of accidents was also at a record high indicating that the streets of New York City are getting more dangerous.

Traffic Accident Injuries and Deaths August 2019 NYC

Record number of bicycle accident fatalities since the beginning of the year

632 bicycle accidents were reported in New York City last August compared to respectively 669, 606, 694, 707, 646 and 655 in August 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. While the number of bicycle accidents in August slightly declined from 2018 to 2019, the number of injuries slightly increased. 468 people were injured while bicycling in the city in August compared to respectively 430, 477, 567, 565, 491 and 523 in August 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. 1 cyclist died in August bringing the total number of bicycle accident fatalities recorded by the NYPD since the beginning of the year to 18 compared to respectively 8, 12, 16, 11, 15 and 7 for the same period of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. While last year the number of bicycle accident fatalities reached its lowest since Vision Zero started, the opposite occurred this year with a record number of bicycle accident fatalities.  While the de Blasio administration has been encouraging New Yorkers to commute by bike, these recent fatalities are a reminder that NYC streets remain dangerous for bicyclists.  The August victim was 52 year old Jose Alzorritz. Alzorritz was waiting at the red light when a driver ran the red light, collided with another vehicle that slid through the road and killed the cyclist. Another e-biker was killed in August but the NYPD categorize e-bike accidents as motorcycle accidents.

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Broad Channel fatal bicycle accident Tweet
65 year old Bogdan Darmetko died in a bicycle accident in New York City on Sunday. Bogdan was riding his bike on Cross Bay Boulevard in Broad Channel around 2:30 pm when he was hit by a 32 year old man driving a 2008 Ford SUV. According to the police report the cyclist who was riding in the unprotected bike lane made a left into the path of the car and was fatally struck by the front of the vehicle. The driver stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged. When the EMS arrived they found Bogdan lying on the ground. They rushed him to the hospital but he couldn’t be saved. Bogdan Darmetko is the 25th person to die in a NYC bicycle accident this year. He had been riding his bicycle in the city for the last 10 years.

Residents have long complained that speeding is an issue but nothing has been done

The  accident occurred at a spot where some road construction was ongoing and the cyclist might have swerved to avoid it.  Speed might have been a factor in his death as well. Cross Bay Boulevard is known for excessive speeding and Broad Channel residents have long been asking the DOT to install stop lights to address this problem. The bike lane on both sides of the road is not protected. Many accident have occurred previously on this Boulevard. NYC Crash Mapper reports that in the area where Cross Bay Boulevard crosses through Broad Channel a total of 273 crashes were reported since the beginning of 2016 until the end of last September.  8 cyclists, 4 pedestrians and 82 motorists were injured  in some of these accidents.

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E-Cigarette-1After a 17 year old boy recently died from vaping in the Bronx, the city of New York announced that it filed a federal lawsuit against 22 online sellers of e-cigarettes who have been caught selling their products to underage clients. These sellers allegedly targeted young people through social media and advertising for flavored e-cigarettes such as “Lemon Twist,” “Freddy’s Pebbles” and “Whipped Salted Caramel”. They also accepted online purchases from teenagers.

According to the lawsuit that was filed yesterday in US District Court in Brooklyn, the defendants sold e-cigarettes to two New York City residents who were younger than 21 year old but older than 18 year old.  In order to purchase the e-cigarettes online, the two young New Yorkers created an email address and used prepaid Visa gift cards. Among the 22 sellers who accepted the orders some of them didn’t use age verification services or sold the e-cigarettes despite the buyers indicating that they were younger than 21.  The companies then shipped the orders to an address in New York City that was controlled by the New York City Sheriff’s Office. No signature or identification were required.

Last month an emergency ban of flavored e-cigarettes was voted by New York State officials (see previous blog) but last week a New York Court halted the ban one day before it was supposed to take effect after an industry trade group named Vapor Technology Association appealed the decision. The case will now be heard by the Supreme Court in Albany on October 18th. Until that date the ban can’t be applied.

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location of the fatal bicycle accidentA NYC child riding a bike in a crosswalk was killed by a motorist who failed to yield while making a left turn. The accident occurred on Saturday morning around 10:30 am in Brooklyn, NYC. 10 year old Dalerjon Shahobidinov was on his bike in the crosswalk on Foster Avenue when 29 year old Victor Mejia made a left turn from Seton Place and recklessly slammed into him. Mejia stayed at the scene of the accident. The police found that he was driving without a license and charged him with failure to exercise due care, failure to yield and driving without a license. The driver  who never applied for a license, has a long history of reckless driving with 22 summonses that include two running red lights.

24 bicyclists killed in NYC in 2019

Dalerjon was a fourth grade student at PS 134 and has 3 other siblings. When the accident occurred he was riding with a group of friends with whom he was playing soccer in Prospect Park. The child is the 24th cyclist to die in a traffic accident in New York City this year. The victim before him was a senior e-bike rider. 62 year old Abul Bashar was a delivery cyclist for a restaurant. He was struck by a private sanitation truck on September 8th and could never recover from his injuries. He died on September 18th.