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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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Sadly Thanksgiving Holidays are not only associated with good family time but also with a rise in car accident fatalities and injuries. National statistics show that car crashes increase by 17% during the day and the night before Thanksgiving as families travel across the United States to get together. Consumption of alcohol is also a contributor in many accidents that occur during the Holidays.

overpass where the deadly crash occurred NY19 year old loses control of vehicle packed with 5 passengers killing two of them and seriously injuring two others

In the New York area, two young people died in a car accident in Long Island on Thursday night. According to the police, the driver of a Honda Pilot who was carrying 5 other passengers sideswiped a Toyota Corolla on the Southern State Parkway near Hempstead and lost control of the vehicle. The car then crashed into an overpass located near exit 21.  The driver, identified as 19 year old Herson Gonzalez survived while two 23 year old passengers, Patricia Rakissoon from Bay Shore and Elliott Bryant from Brooklyn, died. Two other passengers were transported to the hospital with serious injuries while the driver and another occupant were also transported to the hospital to be examined. The occupants of the Toyota were not injured. The exact causes of the accident are still being investigated.  (read more in the Nassau Daily Voices) (Picture of the location of the deadly crash: courtesy of Google Map).

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the house that went on fire in Long Island5 people died in an apartment fire in Long Island NY last Tuesday night. The fire erupted around 10:40 pm in a century-old house located on East Second Street in Riverhead. The house had 3 apartments with the landlord living in one of them on the ground floor and two other families living on the second and third floor. A total of 10 people lived in the house. 5 of them who were living on the top floor died in the fire. It was a mother with her son and daughter as well as her two nephews.

According to preliminary investigations, the fire might have been started by a cigarette. The fire was discovered by a resident of the second floor who had stepped out to walk his dog. As he was returning home he smelled the smoke and then heard the neighbors screaming “Fire”.

The investigators are still trying to figure out if there were smoke alarms installed in the apartment and if there were, why they didn’t work.

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Travis-ScottOur partner, New York Personal Injury Attorney Howard Hershenhorn  talked to Rolling Stone Magazine and the New York Times on behalf of our client Kyle Green who was left partially paralyzed after attending a Travis Scott Concert at Terminal 5 in New York in 2017 (see previous blog).

“Our client, Kyle Green, is devastated and heartbroken for the families of those who were killed and for those individuals who were severely injured. He’s even more incensed by the fact that it could have been avoided had Travis learned his lesson in the past and changed his attitude about inciting people to behave in such a reckless manner,” Hershenhorn said.

Kyle Green was attending a Travis Scott concert in Manhattan when he was pushed over a balcony by a surging crowd. He hit the ground and could not move anymore. Instead of being proprely taken care of by paramedics, Green was picked up by security guards who lifted him up  “without a cervical collar, backboard and other safety precautions” and dragged him toward the stage.

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During the third quarter of 2021, a total of 71 people died in crashes in New York City including 24 pedestrians, 5 cyclists, 9 passengers and 33 motorists. Since the Covid19 crisis started, auto accident fatalities in New York City have peaked and  street safety activists are pointing fingers at the de Blasio administration for failing to keep the streets safe.

A total of 14,335 people were injured in traffic accidents in New York City during Q3 2021 compared to respectively 13,437, 16,083, 16,300, 15,860, 16,048, 13,998, 13,472, 14,900 during Q3 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013. Before 2015, the passengers category  was the one with the most injuries with usually between 5,000 and 6,000 passenger injuries during Q3. In 2015 after the introduction of the Vision Zero program, passenger injuries significantly declined to 4,121 while motorist injuries jumped from 4,502 to 6,043. The increase in motorist injuries is linked to an increase in accidents related to distracted driving and more and more people using their cellphone while driving. After the first year of Vision Zero, passenger injuries during Q3 went back above 5,000 and then, back below 5,000 after the Covid19 crisis hit in 2020. Motorist injuries, mostly linked to distracted driving continued to rise reaching a record high in 2019 with 7,437 motorists injured during Q3.

New York Auto Accident injuries by category during Q3
6,349  motorists were injured in car accidents in New York City during the third quarter of 2021 compared to 5,931 for the same period of 2020 and 7,437 for the same period of 2019. Motor vehicle accident injuries reached a peak during Q3 2019 in New York City and then dropped to levels never seen since 2014 when the Covid19 crisis hit.  They were up during this year’s Q3 but not as high as what they used to be during Q3 2019.

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Volvo-Cars-LogoVolvo recalled another 195,000 potentially defective motor vehicles last week in the US after the company learned that a US driver was killed by the rupture of an air bag inflator. According to Volvo, the front driver’s airbags inflator of XC70 and V70 wagons models from 2001 to 2007 was manufactured by ZF/TRW  and could potentially explode and send shrapnel in the car.

The 195,000 vehicles recalled in the US last week are part of a worldwide recall covering around 768,000 vehicles.

The recall is reminiscent of the problem faced a few years earlier by bankrupt Japanese airbag inflator manufacturer Takata. Defective Takata air bag inflators caused the death of 18 people worldwide including 19 in the US. 400 people were also injured in defective Takata air bag inflator explosions.

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FDA-logoAfter a recent study pointed fingers at the mismanagement of medical device recall by the FDA (see previous blog),  further investigations are confirming an outdated and broken system that leaves patients at risk of serious injury and death as unaware doctors continue to use defective devices on their patients.

A recent example of this outdated process is the recall of a sleep apnea ventilator device manufactured by Philips. It is not clear so far as to when exactly, Philips executives found out that the foam used to dampen the noise of the machine was breaking down and could potentially be inhaled or ingested by patients, exposing them to carcinogenic or toxic effects. However, the company announced publicly, on April 26th, while reporting Q1 earnings that it was creating a provision of 250 million Euros to cover costs related to possible risks to users in some sleep and respiratory care machines. While the company had probably already identified that the defective devices were the ones manufactured between April 2007 and April 2021, it waited almost two other months to initiate a recall and warn consumers of potential carcinogenic and toxic effects.  After the issuance of the recall, the FDA issued a safety communication on June 30. It took until July 22nd for the FDA to classify the recall as class I event and publish a public notification.

Does this mean that all patients have been contacted and had their ventilator changed? Not at all. In the actual process, the customers of the manufacturer, such as the hospitals, the providers, the retailers or the distributors are in charged of contacting the patients and they usually don’t do it.  Instead, doctors wait for the patients to come in with symptoms.

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location of the fatal crashTwo childhood friends were driving back home from an after-hours party when the one driving ran a red light and crashed into another car. The passenger was ejected and died. The accident occurred around 6:30 am last Saturday morning. According to the police, 26 year old Jovanni Padilla was speeding down Saratoga Ave when he ran a red light at the intersection of Sutter Ave and crashed into a KIA SUV. His best friend, 23 year old Kainen Martin was asleep in the passenger seat. Ther impact was so intense that he was ejected from the car.  The police found him lying in the street and he was rushed to the hospital where he later on died from his injuries. The driver, Jovanni Padilla did not have a license and was drunk at the time of the accident. He was also trying to escape on foot when the police arrived and caught him. Padilla was first charged with DWI and driving without a license  and later on with mansluaghter, assault and vehicular manslaughter. The driver of the KIA SUV was hospitalized with minor injuries.

Best friends since childhood

Jovanni and Kainen had been best friends since they were children. Padilla felt so guilty after he understood that his friend had died that he asked the cop  “Just shoot me in the head”. He later on attended the candle light vigil held at the house of Kainen’s mother  in Brooklyn. Both Jovanni and Kainen’s family knew each other and both were distraught by the fatal accident.

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Man-working-on-tubular-scaffold-scaledAfter a 21 year old worker fell to his death on a Brooklyn construction site, Everest Scaffolding, a NYC roofing company located in the Bronx, received a $300,370 OSHA  fine. This fine was the second largest OSHA fine of Q2 2021 . The accident related to the fine occurred on November 13, 2020. The young worker was installing a supported tubular welded frame scaffold during the construction of a seven-story building in Brooklyn when he fell almost 50 feet and died.

OSHA investigators found that:

  • the roofing company did not evaluate the feasibility of using fall protection
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location of the hit and run accidentA deaf man who was standing next to his bicycle in the median of Atlantic Avenue at the intersection of Essex Street in East New York, Brooklyn, was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Friday night around 10:10 pm.

Hit by a speeding car

56 year old Jose Ramos had just finished a late shift at a store and was heading home with his wife Martha. Jose was walking next to his wife with his bike on his side. As they were crossing Atlantic Avenue at Essex street, they stopped on the median to wait for the light to turn green for the pedestrians. All of sudden a sedan racing down Atlantic Avenue slammed into Jose, causing him major body trauma. His wife Martha who is also deaf, ran home two blocks away, to get someone to call an ambulance. When she came back a few minutes later, the sedan was gone.

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A SUV driver struck a pedestrian in Brooklyn, NYC, and while he remained at the scene of the accident, the pedestrian who was hit, vanished from the accident scene. When EMS arrived, they looked for him but could not find him. The accident occurred in Bath Beach. The SUV driver was making a right turn from Bath Avenue onto Bay Parkway when he struck the pedestrian. He remained at the scene of the accident and was not charged. The next day, the police were called for someone injured in a house and found the 52 year old pedestrian dead in his apartment. They found out that the pedestrian stumbled home and suffered a massive head injury that killed him.  Read more in the NY Daily News

While still on a declining trendline, over the past 8 years, NYC pedestrian fatalities have been on the rise this year compared to the previous years. 66 pedestrians died between January 1st and July 31st this year compared to 57 during the same period of last year and 57 during the same period of 2018.

Spike of pedestrian fatalities in New York City