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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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train-accident-prevention
Did you know that 95% of fatal train accidents were caused by vehicles at train crossings and pedestrians on tracks? Every 3 hours in the US someone is hit by a train. Most of these accidents are preventable.

According to preliminary Federal Rail Road Administration Statistics, 262 people died and 871 were injured in 2,296 collisions with trains in 2018 in the US. 2,217 collisions occurred at highway-rail grade crossings. Pedestrian rail trespassing resulted in 1015 causalities (fatalities and injuries).  California and Texas have the most accidents  for both highway-rail grade crossings and trespassing.  New York ranked number 4 of  all states with the most pedestrian trespassing causalities. 36 people died and 13 were injured while trespassing on New York railroads in 2018.

Tips for New York Pedestrians to stay safe near railroads

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Two years ago one of our clients, actress Ruthie Ann Miles and her five year old daughter were struck by a reckless driver as they were crossing the street in the crosswalk with the light in their favor. The daughter was killed and the actress who was pregnant at the time of the accident, later on lost the baby she was carrying. Another 1 year old child was also killed in the accident. The driver, Dorothy Burns, had a history of reckless driving. In the year preceding the accident she was caught 4 times speeding in school zone areas and 4 other times running a red light.

Despite the many Vision Zero Initiatives implemented since 2014, the number of people dying in traffic accidents increased again last year after 4 years of decline. Many accidents were caused by reckless driving.

In an effort to address this problem, the City Council is about to adopt a new program that targets reckless drivers. The reckless driving initiative is expected to start as a 3 years pilot. During that time any owner of a vehicle that is charged with 5 red light camera violations or 15 speed camera violations in a year will have to complete a safety course developed by the DOT. If a reckless driver refuses to attend the safety course his vehicle may be seized.

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IMG_3253-e1580916956170Two years ago, Harry Ramnauh was crushed to death by a glass panel at a Manhattan construction site. He was a security guard at the construction site of the $3 billion Luxury Central Park Tower which when completed will be the tallest residential building in the world. Reaching 112 floors and a height of 1,550 feet, it is also the most expensive development in New York City. Apartments are listed at up to $63 million with a total projected sellout of $4 billion. (see building under construction on the right side of the picture)

Contractor argues that “failure to safeguard the public” doesn’t apply because the victim was a worker

After the death of the security guard, The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) issued several citations to Lendlease, the general contractor for the construction of the residential tower.  Lendlease successfully fought most of the violations and recently filed another petition against the DOB and the Office of Administration Trials and Hearings  arguing that one of the citations, “failure to safeguard the public during construction”, doesn’t apply to the case because the victim was not a member of the public but a worker at the construction site. Lendlease also argues that the violation was issued based on an inspection that occurred 3 days after the accident and therefore it didn’t reflect the conditions at the time of the fatal construction accident.

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location of the pedestrian accident in NYCA pedestrian died after being rolled over by a car backing out of a driveway in NYC. The accident occurred at 30-23 69th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens around 6:15 pm on February 2nd. The driver of a Honda backed out of his driveway, struck a 57 year old man who was standing on the sidewalk and rolled over him.  The man was rushed to the hospital but he could not be saved. His identity was not released by the police. The victim is the first pedestrian to die in a car accident in February 2020. Last month 14 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in New York City: 5 in Brooklyn, 5 in Queens, 2 in the Bronx and 2 in Manhattan.

The driver whose identity wasn’t released either, stayed at the scene of the accident and was not charged.

Drivers must exercise due care while backing out of a driveway especially when it is dark outside

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trucks-kills-cyclist-tweetA cyclist was killed in a truck accident in NYC last week.

41 year old Pedro Lopez is the first cyclist to die in a traffic accident in New York City in 2020. He was killed by a reckless truck driver who was making an illegal U-turn at high speed on Vandervoort Avenue in Brooklyn. The accident occured on Thursday around 2:40 pm. The cyclist was rear ended by the truck. He was rushed to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Despite a video showing the recklessness of the truck driver, the police didn’t charge him

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Reckless driving caused two people to die in separate car accidents in the New York area at the end of last week.

In the first accident, 39 year old Lisettte Quintanilla was driving home with her 8-year-old son when they were rear ended by a speeding drunk driver identified as 26-year-old Nicole Pollock. The accident occurred a little bit after midnight on Sunday morning. Quintanilla was driving on the Meadowbrook State Parkway. She was in the northbound lane just after exit M7 when Pollock rear ended her, causing the car to leave the road and crash into a tree. Quintanilla was rushed to the hospital where she died. Her 8-year-old son suffered a broken arm.

Pollok first tried to walk  away from the scene of the accident when the police was attending to the victims. She then resisted arrest, fought with the police and tried to slip out of her handcuffs. She was charged with vehicular manslaughter, DWI and assault. When she appeared in front of the judge yesterday she pleaded not guilty to the charges. The judge deemed her a flight risk and ordered her held in jail instead of a $200,000 bond.

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2 construction workers died after a trench collapsed in Long Island, NY. The two men were installing a septic tank for a private home located on Wolver Hollow Road in Brookville. They were 30 feet down at the bottom of the excavated area when one of the walls collapsed. Dirt and sand quickly covered the two men. First responders rushed to the rescue. They were able to recover one of the worker who was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. As they were digging with their hands and shovels to search for the second worker, another wall started to give way. Rescuers had to promptly exit and the wall had to be secured until the search for the other man could continue.  His body was finally recovered.  The workers whose identity has not been released were 45 and 57 year old. Read more on the ABC website .

https://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneysblog.com/files/2020/01/1200px-Excavation_for_installation_of_light_towers_at_the_under_construction_Mid-Day_Storage_Yard_in_Queens._CQ033_9-8-2017_37101223191.jpgExcavation is one of the most dangerous activities in the construction industry. In 2018, OSHA launched a National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation in order to reduce the number of injuries and deaths related to this activity. This emphasis program was launched after a recent surge of fatalities and serious injuries related to trenching and excavating. In the fourth quarter of 2019, a contractor who failed to adequately protect his employees during excavation work was slapped with a $161,771 OSHA fine. This fine was among the top 5 highest OSHA fines for the last quarter of 2019. Thankfully nobody was injured but OSHA inspectors found out that the contractor was violating several safety requirements related to excavating work such as not having a competent person conducting regular inspections of the excavation or letting workers continue to work  in an excavation that he knew was unsafe.

In 2017, an unlicensed New York contractor was criminally charged with manslaughter after a wall collapsed on his construction site killing 18 year old Fernando Vanegaz and injuring two of his colleagues (see previous blog)

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A 91 year old pedestrian died in a car accident in New York last Saturday morning. The elderly man was crossing Canal Street at the intersection of Elizabeth Street around 6:30 am when he was struck by a car belonging to the NYC Sanitation Department.

The man was rushed to the hospital in critical condition with trauma all over his body. He later on died from his injuries.

The 61 year old sanitation worker who was driving the car stayed at the scene of the accident and was not charged.

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aerial-view-of-the-Grand-Central-Parkway-and-Cross-Island-Parkway-exit3 people died and one person was seriously injured in a wrong-way car accident in Queens, NYC. The accident took place on Saturday morning around 5:40 am. 27 year old Divante New was driving the car of 36 year old Sayquan Hallums who was in the passenger seat. They were driving the wrong way on the Grand Central Parkway near the Cross Island Parkway exit in Queens when they crashed into another car. 26 year old Megan Ann Smith who was in the passenger seat was killed. Her boyfriend who was driving the car was critically injured. The police didn’t release his identity. Megan Ann Smith graduated in 2011 from St. John’s Preparatory School in Astoria, Queens. She was an an honor student and a member of the softball team. Her family declined to talk to the media.

Foggy windshield might have play a role in the deadly accident

According to the brother of Sayquan, the Honda car driven by Divante had an old defective windshield that would fog up easily. He said that when the heat was up inside the car the old windshield would fog up so badly that only Sayquan was able to drive the car.

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Third-avenueTo reduce pedestrian and cyclist fatalities caused by cars and trucks on two of the busiest and most dangerous avenues in Brooklyn, the NYC DOT announced that the maximum speed limit was lowered from 30 mph to 25 mph. New signs are up and speed cameras have been re-calibrated on Third Ave and Hamilton Avenue in Brooklyn. The DOT decided to take action after 6 people including 3 cyclists and 3 pedestrians died in traffic accidents on Third Avenue last year. Two of them were killed in the same week in December.

The area around Third avenue and Hamilton Avenue has been changing a lot in the past years with more and more residential properties being developed. However there are still a lot of trucks coming in and out of the Gowanus, making the area particularly dangerous.

Half of the 2019 fatalities involved trucks