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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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657 pedestrians, 161 cyclists, 870 passengers and 1,429 motorists were injured in motor vehicle accidents in New York City last January. 19 other road users died in crashes the same month, including 11 pedestrians, 5 passengers and 3 motorists. This is the highest number of fatalities for a month of January since January 2019 and the highest it ever got during a month and more than half of them were motorists. Last year during the same month, 13 people were killed in traffic accidents in the city.

auto accident fatalities NYC January 22
auto accident deaths by category of road users New York January 22
The total number of  people injured in motor vehicle accidents in January 2022 in the city was a little higher than in January 2021 when it reached 3,028 however this number remained lower than numbers recorded during the months of January before the pandemic.  The graph below illustrates well the seasonality of car accident injuries with the month of January being usually a month during which there are less injuries reported than during the summer months. The graph also shows a big drop during the lockdown.

Motorists and passengers are the two categories of road users that usually sustained the most injuries of all auto accidents reported in the city.

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drone inspection can prevent accidentsRecent studies found that drones can be helpful in identifying hazards and preventing workers getting injured or killed in construction accidents.  The Center for Construction Research and Training is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday March 23 about drones in construction and specifically how they can help make construction sites safer. The webinar will be presented by the authors of 3 studies in this field:

  1. Rod Handy, MBA, Ph.D., CIH, University of Utah  who is the lead author of a study entitled Nebulizer-retrofitted drone deployment at residential construction sites will explain how water spraying drones can reduce exposure to air pollution and heat stress and as a result prevent dangerous illnesses
  2. Masoud Gheisari, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management, University of Florida who is the lead author of Using unmanned aerial systems for automated fall hazard monitoring in high-rise construction will share how drone technology can help identifying hazards and safety issues on construction sites especially the most common and dangerous ones that are related to falls. His study focuses on the monitoring of guardrails near unprotected edges and openings in a high rise construction site. The author developed an automated fall hazard recognition system that could facilitate the recognition of guardrails in high rise construction projects.
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Pennslylvania Blvd and Linden Blvd where the pedestrian was killedAnother pedestrian died in a a car accident in Brooklyn, NYC, early Tuesday morning.  The 62 year old  woman stepped off the curb on Pennsylvania Avenue near the intersection of Linden Boulevard stumbled and fell on the road around 12:58 am. Shortly after a car ran over her and kept going. The police said it was not clear if the driver knew he hit someone. The woman suffered massive traumatic brain injury and died at the scene of the accident.  Located in East New York, Pennsylvania Boulevard is a massive speedway that did not receive the type of Vision Zero safety treatment that can be seen in wealthier areas of New York. (read more in the NY Daily News).

Additionnally on Sunday around 4:00 am a reckless driver totaled his a car and a war monument  in a massive explosion in Brooklyn. The driver of a BMW with a Texas license plate was speeding when he lost control of his vehicle and crashed into the war memorial in the center of Bartel Pritchard Square near Prospect Park.  Two people were in the car, the driver and a 23 year old female passenger. The young woman was injured and transported to the hospital while the driver refused medical attention.  It is difficult to understand why the driver of this car was still allowed to drive. The license plates show that the car had 145 violations since January 14 2021.including 95 speed camera tickets and 25 red light cameras tickets. The car was also issued two dozen parking tickets but was never impounded despite being way above the $350 threshold in unpaid tickets for being towed away.

People are getting killed  and injured in car accidents in New York City at a rate never seen since Vision Zero started in 2014.   NYPD data indicate that between January 1st and March 6 2022 car accident injuries increased by 12.1 % compared to the same period a year earlier. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 6,977 people were injured in car accidents. This indicate that every day, in average, 107 people are injured  in NYC car accidents.

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location of the Bronx fatal dump truck accidentA 76 year old pedestrian was fatally struck by a dump truck in the Bronx, NYC, on Monday morning. 76 year old Lola Blair was crossing Enstein Loop around 11:45 am when she was hit by a dump truck making a left turn from the Hutchinson River Parkway service road onto Einstein Loop.  The dump truck driver first continued to drive but then returned to the scene of the accident. The woman was rushed to the hospital where she died from her injuries. She was living nearby, in Co-op city.

Drivers, especially truck drivers must exercise due care when driving in residential areas but so far the NYPD did not charge the dump truck driver for failure to exercise due care.

On Friday another pedestrian was fatally struck by a garbage truck in Brooklyn ( see previous blog).

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garbage truck accident Brooklyn TwitA 62 year old man was killed in a garbage truck accident in Brooklyn, NYC, on Friday afternoon. The accident occurred around 3:30 pm in front of the Atlantic Terminal Mall near the Barclay Center.  The pedestrian was crossing Flatbush Avenue at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue when he was struck by a commercial garbage truck belonging to the private hauler Safeway Services Corp. The 37 year old driver remained at the scene of the accident.

The pedestrian was struck a few feet away from the faded crosswalk and pictures from the accident scene on social media may indicate that the pedestrian was using a walker. It is not clear if the garbage was driving through the intersection and was on Flatbush Avenue with the light in his favor or if he made a right turn from Atlantic Avenue onto Flatbush and both pedestrians and turning traffic had the green light when the accident occurred.  In that case the truck driver should have yielded to the pedestrian. It is not clear either if the garbage truck was equipped with guardrails.  The law requires that all garbage trucks above 10,000 pounds be equipped with guardrails by 2024.

The intersection remains dangerous despite structural improvements in 2018

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car accident scene in ManhattanThere are multiple ways to reduce car accident deaths in New York City.  One of the most successful ones has been the implementation of speed cameras and red light cameras in the city and the lowering of the speed limit to 25mph. The camera program as well as the speed limit control are in the hands of the state legislature and governor in Albany and as a result, not only the city of New York has to seek re-authorization for its automated enforcement program every 4 years as Albany still considers them “demonstrations” but also the city has to beg Albany any time it wants to make a change to this program.

As car accident fatalities in New York City are reaching highs never seen since the beginning of Vision Zero,  street safety advocate organization Transportation Alternatives is recommending Albany to:

  • Immediately authorizing home rule for the City of New York to have control over life-saving automated enforcement programs and speed limits.
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IPhone_12_-_3A recent study found that strong magnets in some electronic devices can interfere with the good functioning of  pacemakers and result in potential injury or death for the wearer.   “If you carry a portable electronic device close to your chest and have a history of tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) with an ICD, strong magnets in these devices could disable your cardioverter defibrillator,” said lead author Corentin Féry, a research engineer at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, Institute for Medical Engineering and Informatics.

Devices that have been identified as potentially dangerous for people who have a cardioverter defibrillator are the new Apple 12, Apple Airpods charging cases, the second generation of Apple pencils and the Surface Pen from Microsoft. In the study, researchers were able to deactivate five different types of defibrillators by simply putting the electronic devices next to the defibrillators. Deactivation would occur when Apple products were at a 0.78 inch distance from the pacemaker and 1.14 inches for the Microsoft pen.

The study is a confirmation of a previous warning by the FDA that some electronic devices such as mobile phones and smart watches might cause some medical devices implanted in patients to switch to “magnet mode”. Many implanted medical devices are designed with a “magnet mode”,  which is a safety features that for example allows patient with such devices to undergo some medical procedures such as MRI. However this safety feature can actually become dangerous for patients, especially those wearing a pacemaker, if an electronic device such as a cellphone can switch the pacemaker to “magnet mode”.

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car accidentDespite a significant decline  in the number of average miles driven on American roads during the pandemic, the number of car accident fatalities exploded. While multiple studies found that most fatal car accidents during the pandemic were caused by reckless behaviors such as speeding, drunk driving or drugged driving, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety tried, in a new study to find out the underlying mechanisms leading to this increase in dangerous driving.

In 2020, the foundation collected data from 2,888 drivers who had been driving between October 23rd 2020 and November 23rd 2020.  Drivers were asked if they reduced, increased or did not change their driving habits because of the pandemic. Participants were also asked if over the 30 days under study they had engaged in risky behavior such as talking on a cellphone, texting, emailing, speeding on highways, speeding on residential streets, running red lights, switching lanes aggressively, drowsy driving, driving without a seatbelt, driving after drinking alcohol, driving after using marijuana.

The study found that drivers who reduced the most their driving habits were 50 year old female drivers and the ones who increased the most their driving habits were males 39 year old and younger.  50 year+ females were also the category of drivers that were taking the less risks on the road while 39- males were the category taking the most risks on the road.

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Reckless driving  and speeding caused 6 people to die and several to be injured in multiple car accidents all over the city. On Monday early morning, around 2:00 am, a black BMW landed on the Amtrak tracks below the Henry Hudson parkway around 183rd Street. The driver lost control of the vehicle and went over the barriers of the highway. When the car landed on the tracks it exploded, killing the driver and the passenger. The police was seen at the scene investigating the accident while Amtrak published a service advisory signaling delays for the trains travelling between Pen Station and Albany.

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road defect killed cyclistA senior cyclist died in a accident caused by a road defect in Queens, NYC, last Thursday. 77 year old Lin Wen-Chiang was riding his bicycle on 40th Driver in Elmhurst when he hit a broken cave-in pavement  and fell off his bike. He suffered severe head trauma and died from his injuries.

6 complaints were previously logged in with the Department of Transportation as the cave-in pavement was never properly addressed

After the accident occurred, city workers were seen patching the defect which had been poorly addressed despite multiple complaints to the city.