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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Numerous bicyclists and pedestrians have been severely injured and several of them have lost their lives in traffic crashes along Mc Guiness Blvd in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The corridor nicknamed “Hipster Highway” is notorious for passenger vehicles and large trucks speeding. Two years ago a study by Transportation Alternatives showed that two thirds of cars and 62% of large trucks traveled over the 30 mph speed limit with a maximum speed reaching 50 mph for cars and 47 mph for big rigs.

Things should change and residents’ safety should improve by the end of this month as the 1.1 mile stretch of Mc Guiness Blvd between Bayard Street and Freeman Street will become the third arterial slow zone in New York City. New signage will be installed, traffic signals will be coordinated to reduce speeding and the NYPD will increase enforcement on the boulevard.

The creation of 25 arterial slow zones is part of the Zero Vision Action plan to reduce traffic fatalities in the city.

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After a worker fell to his death at a NYC midtown construction site, the city issued a full stop work order at the site.

The Department of Buildings issued 41 violations including 6 for work without a permit. Other violations included failure to safeguard persons or property; failure to report an accident; no record of daily inspection of suspended scaffold; work doesn’t conform to approved plans; failure to provide approved plans; failure to provide guardrails; and failure to provide protection.

When the accident happened, the worker, 34 year old Lukasz Stolarski of Brooklyn, was doing facade restoration work. He wasn’t wearing a harness and fell from a ledge he was standing on between the roof and the penthouse. He landed on the top of the sidewalk shed at the 424 West 33rd Street construction site resulting in his death.

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12 people including 7 pedestrians died in auto accidents and many others were injured in speed related crashes along the Bronx Grand Concourse in New York City between 2008 and 2012. Speeding is the main cause of accidents in this dangerous area but this is about to change extremely soon as as officials announced that the the 5.2 miles Bronx corridor will be the second of 25 planned NYC arterial slow zones. The first one was introduced last week on Atlantic Ave in Brooklyn.

Starting this month, traffic signals will be synchronized to reduce dangerous speeding, new 25 mph signage will be installed and the NYPD will increase enforcement in this dangerous area of the Bronx.

The arterial slow zone program is one of the 63 measures included in New York Zero Vision Program launched by Mayor de Blasio at the beginning of the year. Throughout the city, arterial roads amount for 15% of the mileage but for 60% of pedestrian fatal accidents.

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Another pedestrian fatality happened last weekend in New York. A 22 year old woman who was crossing York Ave on the Upper East Side of New York was struck by cab that threw her in the opposite traffic lane where a second cab struck her. She was rushed to the hospital where she died. Read more in the New York Daily News

According to NYC Crash mapper over the last 31 months there were 21 collisions at the location of the accident (EAST 84 STREET and YORK AVENUE). As a results of these collisions 3 pedestrians, 1 bicyclist and 1 motorist suffered personal injury. According to locals, the visibility is limited for pedestrians and drivers as York Ave crests at 84th street and declines to 85th street.

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To reduce personal injury and deaths related to tractor-trailer truck accidents the National Transportation Safety Board sent a letter last week to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urging the agency to take the following actions:

Address Blind Spots

Blind spots are a major cause of accidents between large trucks and other motor vehicles as well as more vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians. The rate of fatal accidents is particularly high among vulnerable road users. Research from the NTSB show that 16% of pedestrians and bicyclists involved in a truck accident will die. This ratio is of 12% for motorcyclists, 1% for passenger vehicle occupants and 0,2% for the tractor-trailer occupants.
Blind spots for large trucks are much bigger than blind spots for regular cars and exist in the front, in the back and on both sides of the truck. According to the study “Prioritizing Improvements to Truck Driver Vision” by Matthew P. Reed, Daniel Blower and Michael J. Flannagan from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute , the blind spot on the right of the cab of the truck is the most dangerous. During a lane change, most collisions with another motor vehicle happen in this spot. It is also the spot where most pedestrians and bicyclists are struck during start-up and right turn crashes.

Countermeasures to mitigate blind spots include enhanced mirror systems as well as more advanced technologies such as sensors to detect vehicles and vulnerable road users in blind spots.
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Poisoning, driven largely by prescription drug overdose deaths, is now the leading cause of unintentional injury related deaths in the United States – surpassing motor vehicle accidents.

In order to fight this tourbling trend, The FDA just approved a hand held auto injector device to deliver a single dose of Naloxone, a drug that can rapidly reverse the effect of opioids in case of overdose. Evzio (naloxone hydrochloride injection) can be injected into the muscle or under the skin. It is designed to be used by family members and caregivers.

Read more in the FDA press release

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Seth Johnson was drunk and high on marijuana when he struck and killed 23 year old Thomas Riley, a pedestrian who was hailing a cab on the side of Fordham Road in the Bronx, NYC in 2011. He was initially charged with drunk driving, leaving the scene of an accident and criminally negligent homicide but a jury acquitted him of all charges except drunk driving for which he will receive 90 days in jail with 3 years probation.

Read more in the Gothamist

Victim of drunk driving, Thomas Riley, 23 year old and father of one child

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The “Injury Facts” report is an annual review of the latest injury and fatality statistics and trends. It has been published for 90 years by the National Safety Council. Most recent data include 2010, 2011 am 2012 data depending on subjects.

There were 180,811 injury related deaths in the US in 2010 and most of them (120,859) were accidental. Unintentional injury is the leading cause of death for people 1 to 42 years old and the fifth cause of death for all ages behind heart disease, cancer, chronic low respiratory disease and stroke.


The 2010 data are the latest official data but according to projections from the National Safety Council , the number of unintentional injury related deaths in 2012 was 127,200 with 36,300 of them related to motor vehicle accidents. 63,000 of them happened at home, 26,000 in public places and 3,695 at work. The National Safety Council data shows an increase of deaths due to motor vehicle crashes, poisoning, falls, drowning and choking.

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of injury related deaths, but recent trends show a significant increase in falls related to the aging population and a dramatic increase in poisoning related to unintentional prescription drug overdoses especially opioid prescription overdoses.

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A 77 year old pedestrian was crossing a residential street in Brooklyn when she was struck and suffered injury leading to her death by a 2014 Mercedes Benz attempting to parallel park. Marlene Baharlias, 77, was jaywalking when she stepped off an East 19th street curb mid-block between Avenue U and Avenue T in Sheepshead Bay around 2:20 p.m. yesterday and was mowed down, cops said. Read more in the Gothamist.

Erratum (3/20): according to an in depth article from Streetblog that came a day after the accident was announced in the local media, Marlene Baharlias was killed Tuesday in Sheepshead Bay by a driver who witnesses say backed onto a sidewalk – contrary to anonymous NYPD sources who told the Post the victim was jaywalking. We apologize to our readers.

A similar accident happened two days ago, also in Brooklyn, when a young child was attempting to cross the street with his mother and a car backed into them killing the 5 year old boy (see previous blog).

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Ariel Russo was killed in a car accident last June as she was walking to school with her grandmother. The two pedestrians were on Amsterdam Ave at 97th street when a 17 year old driver with a learners permit jumped the curb and hit the young girl causing her death. The young man was charged with manslaughter. Today Ariel would have been 5 years old. In her memory the city renamed west 97th Street between Amsterdam Ave and Broadway “Ariel Russo’s Place”.

Read more in CBS New York