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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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Teen speeding is a leading cause of fatalitiesSpeeding is the cause of many fatal crashes especially among teenagers. A recent analysis conducted by Richard Retting of Sam Schwartz Consulting for the Governors Highway Safety Associations found that teen drivers and passengers account for a much greater proportion of speeding related fatalities than any other age group.

From 2015 to 2019, 4,930 teen drivers and passengers died in car accidents related to speed. Speed related accidents accounted for 43% of all teen fatal car accidents. As a comparison speed is a factor in 30% of all fatal accidents for people above 20.

Globally, car accidents remain the main cause of fatalities among teens with the 16 year old’s being the most at risk

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rhino-pillRhino Pills and other herbal sex supplements for men often contain hidden ingredients that have caused injuries and even, in rare cases death to consumers.  These types of supplements can still be found at many gas stations around the country, at Walmart and on Amazon despite multiple FDA warnings and  the original manufacturer of the Rhino pill being sentenced yesterday to 4 years in prison.

Nam Hyun Lee, an illegal immigrant from South Korea based in California got into the business of selling sex herbal supplements in 2015.  His marketing was convincing with flashy Rhino labels and consumers quickly noticed that the supplements were actually working. Lee illegally  spiked his herbal supplements with Sildenafil or Tadalafil, the drugs used in Viagra and Cialis. The drugs were illegally imported from China, packaged at warehouses in Southern California and shipped all over the country. Lee was caught when one of the drug packages sent under the description “acrylic paint” was seized by custom agents and tested positive for Sildenafil.  He was arrested in 2018 and has been in federal custody since that date. It is estimated he sold between $3 million and $9 million of sex supplements.

While Lee has been convicted, other unscrupulous competitors quickly took over the market and continue to sell the Rhino brand name or other variations of sex herbal supplements.  Gas stations, Walmart and Amazon still sell them despite multiple FDA warnings.

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construction site NYTo reduce injuries and deaths on NYC construction sites, Mayor de Blasio signed Local Law 196 in 2017. This law requires that workers can only be allowed to work on a  construction site in the city if they  attended a minimum amount of hours of safety training.

Construction superintendents, Site safety managers and site safety coordinators are all required to have  62 hours of safety training that includes the regular OSHA 30-hour safety class and additionally 8-hour fall prevention training, 8-hour on chapter 33 that covers safeguard during construction and demolition work, 4-hour scaffold safety, 2-hour site safety, 2-hour tool box talks, 2-hour safety meetings organization and preparation, 2-hour general electives, 2-hour specialized electives and 2-hour drug and alcohol awareness.

Other construction workers are required to attend the OSHA 30-hour safety class or the OSHA 10-hour class with 20 hours of additional training consisting of 8 hours of fall prevention training, 4 hours of scaffolding safety training and the option to choose between 8 hours of Chapter 33 training,  4 hours of general electives or 4 hours of specialized effectives.

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snow tubing can be dangerousA 16 year old died from her injuries in a sledding accident in Lewiston, New York. The teenager, identified as Renee Hill was riding a sliding tube with her 3 year old nephew in front of her on the tube when she realized that they were about to hit a tree. To prevent her nephew  to hit the tree first she put her foot down to flip the tube. She hit the tree while her nephew was saved.  She was rushed to the hospital in critical condition but she died on the way. Renee was a sophomore at Niagara Wheatfield High School.

The sledding hill in Clyde L. Burmaster Park where the  fatal sledding accident occurred  was closed until further notice and the accident is being investigated.

While it is quite fun, sledding can be dangerous

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accident sceneA man who stopped to help a stranger died after being struck by a hit and run driver in Queens, NYC. Last Friday night around 8:30 pm, 51 year old Mike Agurkis was driving his car on the Nassau Expressway in Springfield Gardens when he saw a motorist stranded along the side of the highway. The good Samaritan pulled in front of the stranger got out of his car and offered to help him.

As he was standing in between the two cars stopped on the side of the highway, the driver of a blue minivan hit the vehicle of the stranded driver which in a chain reaction slammed into Mike and killed him. The driver of the blue minivan abandoned the blue van and ran away on foot. The police are still looking for him.

Mike Agurkis’s children and his ex-wife are heartbroken. They told journalists that that’s how their dad was. He would always stop to help people. Mike’s landlord and a neighbor also confirmed that Mike lived his life to help people.

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8 construction workers died and 502 were injured on the job in New York City in 2020 compared to respectively 11 and 596 in 2019. The slowdown in the construction industry  related to the COVID-19 pandemic in all market sectors, except for healthcare construction, is the main factor behind this decline. Additionally Local Law 196 which was signed in 2017 but took effect in 2019 might also have contributed to a decrease in construction accident deaths and injuries in New York City. Local Law 196 requires that construction workers take a 40 hour safety training course and supervisors 62 hours safety course to be able to work on a NYC construction site. Most construction accidents are preventable and often occurred when workers lack sufficient knowledge or training.

NYC Construction accident fatalities decreased in every boroughs except for Brooklyn.

Construction Accident Deaths NYC 2020
Manhattan is the borough that saw the most significant decrease in construction workers fatalities in 2020. Two construction workers died in accidents in Manhattan last year compared to respectively 6, 6, 7, 5 and 7 in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015. It is the fist time over the last 5 years that the number of construction accident fatalities in Manhattan is that low.

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accident scene28,190 people died in car accidents in the US in the first 9 months of 2020 compared to 26,941 during the same period of 2019.  This represents a 4.6% increase in car accidents fatalities in the US while at the same time the umber of miles travelled decreased by 14.5 %.  These numbers are early estimates recently published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

First a decline during the lockdown and then an explosion of deaths

While looking at each month’s fatalities, data show that during the lock down fatalities declined significantly and then exploded after things gradually reopened. In March 2020 car crash fatalities in the US were down by 7.7%, in April by 19% and in May by 2.7%. Then, in June  2020, crash deaths increased by 16% compared to June 2019, by 13% in July, by 13% in August and by 13% in September.

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the building from which the roofer fellA 27 year old construction worker fell to his death in Suffolk county, NY, yesterday afternoon. Hector Aranda-Sanchez was working on the roof of the Four Seasons Sunrooms and Windows company located at 5005 Veteran Memorial Hwy in Holbrook, NY, when he fell. Aranda-Sanchez was rushed to the hospital but he did not survive his injuries. The young man who was from Peekskill, was working for a Yonkers based roofing company according to the police. Investigation is still ongoing to find out the exact conditions of the accident.

Earlier the same day and also in Suffolk county, a landscaper lost his life after he fell from a tree. 51 year old Vicente Oliver was trimming a tree on property located on Bluebird lane in West Hills. The man was sitting on a branch that gave way and he fell 40 feet to the ground.

It is unclear if any of the two men were wearing required safety equipment.

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116 bicyclists, 504 pedestrians, 1,116 motor vehicle passengers and 1,795 motor vehicle drivers were injured in traffic accidents in New York City during the month of November for a total of 4,039 people injured. Another 28 people died in similar circumstances, among them were 6 cyclists, 13 pedestrians, 1 passenger and 8 drivers. (click on graphs for full size)

Traffic Accident Injuries NYC November 2020
New York Auto Accident Death November 20
While the total number of monthly deaths reached a record high for the month of November since Vision Zero was launched in 2013, the total number of monthly injuries was at its lowest since 2013 for the month of November.  Since the beginning of 2020 when the Covid pandemic started, the streets of New York City are less busy than usual which might explain why the monthly number of people injured in traffic accidents for the entire year stayed below the trendline. However less traffic has lead to speeding and other reckless activities  which resulted in more traffic fatalities.

Car accident injuries in New York in November with trendline
car accident death in NYC in November with trendline
Because of the pandemic, the city saw an increase of people using bicycles to commute. However riding a bike in New York City remains dangerous despite new bike lanes that are being implemented all over the city. While cyclists infrastructure are decently developed in Manhattan it is not the case in the other boroughs especially in the Bronx where Citi Bike has implemented new bike shares but protected bike lanes are still rare. As a result the number of NYC bicycle accident injuries and deaths are exploding. Last November 6 people died in bicycle accidents compared to respectively 1,0, 2, 0, 0, 1, 2 and 2 in November 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. This is the second time in the last 3 months that the monthly number of bike accident deaths reached a record high. The number of injuries also jumped to 504 last November compared to respectively 246, 285, 366, 346, 276, and 280 in November 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. The number of bicycle accident injuries more than doubled from November 2019 to November 2020. The total number of bicycle accidents was also on the rise with 537 accidents in November compared to respectively 367, 375, 400, 465, 454, 383 and 368 in November 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. While  the graphs below clearly show that the total number of bicycle accidents and the resulting injuries are seasonal and reach their peaks during the summer all trendlines are on the rise and over the recent months bicycle accidents injuries and deaths have all reached record highs.

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location of the Queens pedestrian accidentA pedestrian was transported to the hospital with critical injury after being struck by a car in New Yok City.  The pedestrian, a young woman in her twenties was struck by a Mustang around 11:30 pm last Friday at the intersection of Cross Bay Boulevard and 163rd Avenue, in Queens (see Google map picture on the left) . The  31 year old driver stayed at the scene of the accident and was not charged. The pedestrian was found by EMS unconscious with critical injuries to her legs and head. She was rushed to the hospital to be treated. Read more in the Post

The day before also in Queens, a 16 year old Mustang driver died in a car accident after he lost control of his vehicle. Thursday afternoon around 2:50 pm, 16 year old Dylan Moreno was found dead a few blocks away from his home after he lost control of his black Mustang. The teenager was speeding down 80th Avenue near 265th Street in Glen Oaks when he lost control of his sport car and hit a tree on the side of the road.  The young man had a passion for fast cars. Before he hit the tree, the teen driver blew two stop signs and almost hit a pedestrian. Read more in the Daily News 

Another young driver lost control of his car, flipping it over and crashing into a house in Long Island. The 19 year old man has been arrested by the police and is facing DWI charges. Thankfully the person inside the house at the time of the accident was not injured.