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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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In its latest bulletin, the Center for Construction Research and Training looks at injuries and fatalities sustained by construction workers in the US over a 10 years period. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) for the fatal injuries and on on employer logs obtained from the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) for the non fatal injuries, this bulletin provides an overview of the trends of injuries and deaths in the construction industry.

Construction work remains one of  the most dangerous job in the US

In 2020 construction workers represented 7.3% of the total workforce in the US and 21.7% of the workforce fatal injuries. Globally, between 2011 and 2020, working on a construction site became more dangerous with both hard hat fatality and injury rates on the rise. 2020 was affected by the Covid 19 pandemic and while less fatalities and injuries were reported because the activity was limited, the fatality rate and the injury rate both reached a record high that year.

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As traffic accident fatalities in New York City rose to levels never seen since Vision Zero started in 2014 (see our recent blog), Mayor Adams just announced that he was launching a $4 million multi-platform, multilingual campaign to counter rising traffic violence and curb dangerous driving behaviors.

The campaign entitled “Speeding Ruins Lives, Slow Down” is the largest investment in public safety awareness since Vision Zero was launched in 2014. It  comes in the steps of a previous $900 million investment in street safety that is being used to physically redesign 1,000 dangerous intersections located in the New

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York City five boroughs: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens and Staten Island as well as campaigning for New York City to have more control on traffic safety tools such as speed cameras.

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NYC Construction Safety WeekFalls are the main cause of  injuries and deaths for construction workers in New York City and most of them can be prevented.

A large safety awareness campaign is going on this week in New York City to reduce accidents on construction sites, with a focus on fall accidents.

Construction Safety Week is a yearly safety campaign organized by the NYC Department of Buildings to remind workers and their employers and families that safety best practices on construction sites prevent accident injuries and deaths.

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29 pedestrians, 17 passengers and 12 motor vehicle operators died in crashes in New York City during the first 3 months of the year for a total of 58 fatalities. There were no cyclist fatalities. Since Vision Zero started in 2014, the highest number of auto accident deaths reached 51 in 2014. The only positive news during the first quarter was that no cyclist deaths were reported during this period which never occurred before.

car accident fatalities NYC Q1 2022
NYC Car accident injuries were higher during Q1 22 than during the same period of 2010 and almost reached the same level than in 2020. Among the injured were 4,632 drivers, 3,120 passengers, 649 bicyclists and 2,100 pedestrians. Compared to the same period a year before, all categories of road users sustained a higher number of injuries with the exceptions of the cyclists which might indicate that all the new measures to make cycling safer in  the city have a positive impact.

auto accident injuries New York City Q1 22
12 motor vehicle operators died in crashes during Q1 compared to respectively, 10, 10, 9, 13, 8, 13, 8, 15 and 15 during the same period 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. While the trend line of motorist deaths is still declining, the numbers of this last quarter are significantly above this trend line.

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scene of the fatal chain crashA pedestrian was fatally struck between two parked cars in Brooklyn, NYC on Saturday morning around 9:35 am.

The accident occurred as 48 year old Everton Stewart was cleaning his car parked in front of his parents’ house located in Canarsie on E. 89th Street near Avenue L. He was standing between the back of his car and the front of his father’s car which was parked right behind him when another car that was coming down the street slammed into his father’s car and pinned him between the two vehicles. The man was rushed to the hospital but he did not survive.

The driver who caused the chain accident, a 46 year old woman with a child in the car, swerved to avoid a car and then according to the police “accelerated for no reason” and crashed into the father’s car.  She was arrested by the police and charges are still pending.

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construction workers working at height in NYCAs spring is here and construction activities are booming in the city, the recent release of the NYC Department of Buildings Construction Safety report is a bleak reminder of the multiple fatalities that occurred on New York construction sites during the same season last year. After two workers fell to their death in February,  two other hard hats died in April, one from electrocution and the other from a fall. Then in May, two workers were crushed by a falling elevator cabin and one of them died while the other one was critically injured. The same month two other workers fell to their death in Long Island City and Flatbush.

After this horrible spring, the DOT organized a giant sweet of almost all construction sites in NYC, sending to the field an army of investigators and shutting down any construction site where major safety violations were discovered.  As a result  fewer fatalities were reported during the remaining months of the year with two other worker falling to their death, one in Manhattan in September and one in Gowanus in November.

The reports also confirms that after a drop of activity related to the Covid19 lockdown, construction activity in NYC increased again in 2021. A total of 168,423 construction permits were issued in 2021 compared to 147,760 in 2020. Manhattan was the borough with the highest number of permits issued (63,320)  however Queens came number one for new buildings filed with 573 applications, followed by Staten Island with 521 application.  Brooklyn had the highest number of certificates of occupancy issued (2,053) followed by Queens (1,613).

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10 pedestrians, 8 passengers and 6 drivers died in crashes in New York City in February. No cyclists fatalities were reported to the NYPD during this month. 266 bus accidents, 577 truck accidents and 56 motorcycle accidents were reported among the total 7,261 motor vehicle collisions recorded in February.

Traffic accident fatalities in New York City reached a record high for the month of February with 24 people dying in traffic accidents compared to respectively 10, 17, 12, 16, 13, 18, 15, 12 and 20 in February 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  Traffic accident fatalities in the city last February were even higher than what they were in February 2013 before Vision Zero started.  The  trendline which had been steadily declining during Vision Zero is now almost flat. Since last February ,monthly car accident fatalities have been at the level of the trendline or above which is quite unusual and quite worrisome.

Car accident fatalities February 22
The high number of car accident fatalities in New York City last February is mostly due to a record high number of car passengers fatalities (see category in red in the graph below, click on it for full size). 8 motor vehicle passengers died in crashes last February compared to 5 in January 2020 and 2 in February 2021. Since Vision Zero started and even a year before, the highest total monthly passengers fatalities were 6 in April 2014 and 6 in July 2015.

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fall prevention posterLast year, 7 out of the 9 NYC construction worker deaths reported by the Department of Buildings were caused by falls. Additionnally the DOB also reported that 194 workers were injured in fall accidents on New York City construction sites during the same period. This was a record high compared to the previous years (see previous blog). Despite increased safety training requirements for workers, fall remains the number one cause of accident deaths and injuries in the New York construction industry and nationally as well. According to the most recent statistics from the BLS 351 out of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded nationally in 2020 were fall fatalities. Most of these accidents were preventable.

Preventing fall accidents is the reason why, every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in collaboration with multiple other partners involved in workplace safety such as the CPWR and NORA are organizing a National Stand Down during which employers are invited to voluntarily take a break from work and sit down with their workers to discuss or participate to activities  related to fall hazards.

Anyone can participate and every year sees more and more participants from major corporate construction companies to small contractors, including the US Army and other governmental participants. All employers  participating receive a certificate.

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Another NYC pedestrian hit by an out of control driver died. A week ago, 38 year old Jennifer Tolliver was walking on a NYC sidewalk with her 6 year old son Ashton when they were struck in the back by an out of control driver who jumped the curb (see previous blog).  Tolliver and her son were rushed to the hospital in critical condition. The driver who hit them was also transported to the hospital. He was seriously injured but was in stable condition. Yesterday the police announced that Jennifer Tolliver died from her injuries leaving behind her son for whom the police did not provide an update. The police also confirmed that they did not charge the driver. At the time of the accident the police mentioned that the driver may have suffered a medical episode however they did not provide any update about it and what type of medical episode he may have suffered. Read more in the NY Post

In New York City one pedestrian dies approximately every 3 days in a car accident

According to the most recent NYPD statistics, 10 pedestrians died in car accidents in New York City in February and 11 in January for a total of 21 for the first two months of the year. This is the highest number of pedestrian fatalities for the first two months of the year since 2020 when 23 pedestrians died during the first two months of the year.

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Construction accident fatalities and injuries in New York City in 2021 were a little bit higher than in 2020 but lower than during the years preceding the Covid19 crisis according to the New York City Department of Buildings statistics.  The DOB only reports construction worker fatalities that are caused by  building code violations. Brooklyn and Manhattan had the most fatalities, 3 each while the other boroughs all recorded one fatality each for a total of 9 worker fatalities compared to 8 in 2020 and 11 in 2019.

Construction accident deaths NYC 2021
7 out of the 9 hard hat deaths were caused by fall and 2 of them were caused by accidents related to mechanical construction equipment failure. Despite construction workers now being required to follow safety training, fall related fatalities were at their highest since 2017. Most fall accidents are preventable. They usually occur when safety rules are not respected.

Factors in New York construction worker deaths in 2021
Almost the same number of injuries were reported to the DOB in 2021 compared to 2020. 505 workers were injured in construction accidents in New York City in 2021 compared to 502 a year earlier and 596 in 2019. Most injuries’ occurred on Manhattan construction sites (300) followed by Brooklyn (105), Bronx (48), Queens (45) and Staten Island (7).