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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According to statistics from the NYC Department of Buildings there were no fatalities at New York City construction sites during the first trimester of 2019 compared to 2 during the last trimester of 2018 and 4 during the same period a year ago. A total of 137 construction workers were injured in NYC during the first 3 months of the year compared to 158 during the previous trimester and 174 during the same period a year ago.  From April 1st 2018 to March 31st 2019, 8 construction workers died on the job, compared to 16 for the same period a year earlier. (click on graphs for full size)

Fatalities in the New York City Construction Industry
Among the 137 workers who were injured, 90 of them were working at Manhattan construction sites, 10 at Bronx sites, 23 at Brooklyn sites, 13 at Queens sites and 1 at  a Staten Island construction site.

Construction Accident Injuries NYC by boroughs
Most construction accident fatalities and deaths in New York City occur in Manhattan. Both fatalities and injuries are on a rising trend in Manhattan. However, on a positive note, it is the first time since 2015 that no hard hat death was recorded in Manhattan over a 5 month-period. 25 workers were injured at Manhattan construction sites in both January and March with a spike at 40 in February.

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4 children and two adults died in a fire accident in New York early wednesday. The fire broke out a little after 1:30 am in the apartment where 45 year old Andrea Pollidore was living with her stepson 32 year old Matt Abdularauph and her 4 young children, 3 year old Elijah, 6 year old Brooklyn, 8 year old Andre and 11 year old Nakaira. Located on the fifth floor of the Frederick E. Samuel Houses at Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. and W. 142nd St, the 3 bedroom apartment was completely destroyed by the flames. The fire started from the kitchen burning stove that was left unattended. No fire alarm went on and the fire spread quickly to the entire apartment while the family was asleep. When they woke up it was too late. They were trapped in their rooms and couldn’t access the door or the fire escape anymore.  When the firefighters arrived flames were pouring out of five windows of the apartment.  When they reached the two rear rooms they found the six occupants dead.

This accident is one of the most deadly New York fire accidents. A candlelight vigil was held in front of the building. Mayor de Blasio was on the site as well and said the entire city was saddened by the tragedy. The family were beloved members of the community. According to friends and family, Pollidore was a wonderful single mother and a nurse who loved her children and would give her life for them.

NYCHA said a new smoke alarm was installed in the apartment in 2017 but the firefighters couldn’t find it and tenants testified that they didn’t hear any alarm. When the FDNY checked the apartments near the one that burned all of them had relatively new and working detectors. Investigators will have to find out why there were none recovered in the apartment.

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Donna Sturm was killed by a cyclistDonna Sturm, a pedestrian who suffered traumatic brain injury after being struck by a bicyclist in midtown Manhattan almost two weeks ago died from her injuries over the week-end. Donna was left in a coma since the accident that occurred on April 24 around 1:00 pm. The 67 year old woman was coming back from lunch and was crossing 57th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues when  a bicyclist identified as 40-year old Damian Dewart recklessly ran the red light and struck her. (see our previous blog for more details on the accident)

Our managing partner, New York Personal Injury Attorney Ben Rubinowitz who is representing the family of  Donna Sturm  issued the following statement on behalf of the family:

Donna Sturm was a vibrant, energetic and wonderful woman who died as a result of carelessness and negligence.

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toddler killed by van locationA toddler was fatally struck by a van in New York City. The pedestrian accident occured yesterday around 12:45 pm in Bath Beach, Brooklyn, NYC. The van which was delivering candies and had Kittles and Starbust logos on it, was making a turn from Bay 25th street onto Benson Avenue when he ran over the 3-year-old Emur Shavkator who was riding a small green scooter. The boy was with his mom and another child. His mother was frantically trying to pull him from underneath the van. When the EMS arrived the boy was unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The van driver wasn’t exercising due care and killed the young pedestrian

The driver of the van, 61 year old Johnny Gonzalez of Bensonhurst, stayed at the scene of the accident. He was arrested and charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care. There is a stop sign just before the sidewalk where the van struck the young boy. However according to a crossing guard working nearby who spoke with the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, many drivers in the area are behaving dangerously. “I see drivers do stupid things here all the time. They race by me, they run lights, stop signs and sometimes I try to get their license plates, but it happens so fast,” she said. “I hope we can find a way for people to just slow down.” Residents also confirmed that drivers were constantly blowing the stop sign on Bay 25th Street.

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Chicken CoopIn 2018, 120 Americans died and 25,606 suffered illness after being contaminated by dangerous food. 5,893 of them had to be hospitalized to be treated. Produce caused half of the illnesses, then in order meat and poultry, dairy and eggs, fish and shellfish.

The infections are caused by 7 main bacteria ad 1 parasite:

  1. 9,084 cases of Salmonella caused 2,416 hospitalizations and 36 deaths. Salmonella is mainly found in eggs and chicken
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harness safety equipment on scaffoldOn April 28th, Workers Memorial Day commemorated those who have suffered and died on the job. The NY construction industry accounts for a large share of the deaths and injuries suffered by workers. While fatal construction accidents have declined by 23% in New York City over the last 5 years they increased by 39% in New York State. The main reason behind this discrepancy is the difference in regulations. While stronger regulations and an increase of enforcement and control could help reduce the construction safety crisis in New York State, businesses are heavily lobbying against them.

In New York City things are not perfect either ( 3 construction workers died over a one week period last month) but long term statistics indicate that new and old policies are helping in making construction sites safer for workers. In 2019 the funding for the New York City Department of Buildings increased to 189 million compared to 107 million in 2015. The Department was able to hire 700 more employees and increase the number of work-site inspections.  The recent implementation of Local Law 196 that requires all construction workers to have a minimum amount of safety training before being able to work on a construction site in New York City will also be helpful in preventing dangerous injury and deaths.

Scaffold Safety Law

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NYC construction workers and their families commemorated the 16 hard hats who died and the many others who were injured  in construction accidents in New York City last year in a mass held at St Patrick’s Cathedral last Thursday. The hardhat procession into the cathedral was followed by a memorial service in the cathedral. In an emotional celebration, families and friends commemorated the 16 workers who died on construction sites between April 28 2018 and April 28 2019. Among the workers who died 13 were non unionized construction workers, 2 of them unionized workers and one was a security guard. 16 empty chairs with a hard hat and a rose were installed in the front of the church with the name of each deceased worker.

The construction industry has more deaths than any other industry in New York City and in the US as well. As the construction market is booming in the city  so do construction accidents injuries and fatalities. According to city data, compared to 5 years ago,  deaths of construction workers are up 33 % and injuries 221% in New York City. This month only, 3 construction workers lost their lives over a period of one week.

Non unionized workers are the most at risk of dying on New York Construction sites

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harness safety equipment on scaffold The leading cause of construction workers deaths are falls. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released a brochure with information on how employers and construction workers can better prevent fall injuries and deaths. Every year in the US more than 31o workers die and more than 10,350 are injured after falling from heights. Workers on roofs, workers on ladders and workers on scaffolds have the highest risk of getting injured in a fall. According to statistics from the US Department of Labor, in 2016, 124 workers died after falling from a roof, 104 of them died after falling from a ladder and 60 of them died after falling from a scaffold.

Roofers have the most dangerous occupation

81% of people dying after falling from a roof are construction workers. Most common factors contributing to this fatal accidents are inexperience, lack of fall protection,  no safety harness, fall protection system not proprely installed, working alone, bad weather conditions. Falls can be prevented by implementing a serious fall protection program, making sure workers all have proper safety equipment and are proprely trained to use it,inspecting fall equipment, using proper anchorage, using buddy system and monitoring weather conditions

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bike lane proposalAfter Mathew von Ohlen was killed by a hit and run driver while biking on Grand Street, his family and the Brooklyn Community Board 1 called for a protected bike lane.  A total of four people have been fatally struck by cars on Grand Street since 2010.

A new design including two protected bike lanes and a bus lane was proposed by the DOT  as an L Train shutdown mitigation measure. In reality, the DOT hastily installed a bike lane that wasn’t fully implemented and that stayed in limbo after it was decided that the L train would not be fully shut-down. The actual bike lane is only protected by plastic delineators. Cars and delivery trucks are constantly passing the delineators and parking on the bike lane forcing cyclists to make dangerous maneuvers to ride around them. Residents and businesses have both been asking their community board to improve the actual situation which according to them is chaotic.

Bike lane plans kept and extended

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6 cyclists, 27 pedestrians, 5 passengers and 9 motorists died in NYC traffic accidents during the first 3 months of 2019 compared to 1 cyclist, 26 pedestrians, 2 passengers and 13 motorists for the same period of 2018.  A total of 47 people died in motor vehicle accidents in New York during this first trimester, 5 more than during last year’s first trimester. The number of traffic deaths significantly decreased between the first trimester of 2013 and the first trimester of 2014, reached its lowest in 2015 at 40 and then oscillated between 40 and 50 for the last 4 years with no further improvement.Fatal Auto Accident New York City First Trimester 2019

12,997 people were injured in auto accidents in New York City during the first 3 months of 2019 compared to respectively 12,920, 12,608, 11,936, 10,069, 10,805 and 11,676 during the first trimester of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. This is a record number of motor vehicle accident injuries for the first trimester. Except for pedestrian injuries which were at their second lowest level since Vision Zero started all other road users recorded a significant increase of injuries during the first trimester of 2019 compared to the same period of 2018 with motorist injuries at a record high.

Total Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries NYC First Trimester 2019
The most alarming data this first trimester was the death of 6 cyclists. This number has never been so high in the past. After an uptick to 4 during the first trimester of 2016 the number of deaths related to bicycle accidents in NYC went down to 2 and 1 during the same period of 2017 and 2018. Last year during the entire year, 9 cyclists died in traffic accidents which was a record low. However the first trimester deaths are an indication that the city can’t relax its efforts to improve protection for the growing number of people commuting by bikes in the city.