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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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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.

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location of the fatal e-bike accidentTwo e-bike riders died in NYC accidents  during which they lost control of their bike while no other vehicles were involved since the beginning of this year. Another similar accident occurred around Christmas (see previous blog).

On Thursday January 6th around 2:45 pm, 26 year old Cheng Wang was riding a e-bike on Ralph Avenue. As he was near Avenue D in Flatbush, Wang lost control of his e-bike and fell to the ground. EMS found him unconscious in the street and rushed him to the hospital. While unconscious, Wang was still alive when he arrived at the hospital. He died less than 12 hours later from internal injuries. It is not clear what caused Wang to loose control of his e-bike. The segment of Ralph Avenue where he fell is in an industrial area and the pavement has a lot of cracks.  The weather was very cold as well and the road might have been icy. (read more in StreetBlog)

Less than 24 hours later, on Friday January 7, a man on a e-bike crashed into a parked car in the Bronx and died from his injuries, The accident occurred around 12:45 am. The victim was riding an e-bike on East 149th Street in the Bronx when he crashed into the back of a car parked next to the curb. A surveillance video shows the cyclist riding in the middle of the street, then veering to the right and hitting the car parked against the curb. It is not clear why the victim piloted his  e-bike that way. Maybe there was a pothole, debris on the ground or black ice? The victim who according to the NY Daily News was in his 30ies was not wearing a helmet. He suffered major head trauma. EMS found him unconscious in the street and transported him to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The man did not have any identification on him.

 

 

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Linemen have one of the most dangerous job in the construction industryDerrick workers in oil gas and mining, roofers, ironworkers, crane operators, construction helpers, landscaping supervisors, highway maintenance workers, cement masons, ground maintenance workers, maintenance workers and mining machine operators have some of the highest death rates among all workers. Out of the top 25 most dangerous jobs  in the US, 12 of them are related to the construction industry according to a recent study released by AdvisorSmith.

Derrick operators in the oil gas and mining industry whose job is to operate and maintain the derrick and drill equipment used to extract oil or gas have the third most dangerous activity of all American workers behind logging workers and aircraft pilots and flight engineers. The average yearly salary of a derrick operator is $51,390 and the average fatal injury rate is 46 per 100,000 workers.  20 of them died on the job  in 2018 according to the most recent data of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Roofers who average a $42,100 yearly salary come right behind them with a fatal injury rate of 41 per 100,000 workers. 96 of them died in roofing accidents in 2018.

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location of the pedestrian accidenta 4 year old pedestrian died and a 6 year old suffered serious injury in a dramatic accident that occurred on their way to school. The accident occurred yesterday morning around 9:15. The two children had just been dropped in front of Yeshiva Ketana of Bensonhurst on 67th Street near 20th Ave (see Google map picture on the left)  by a 76 year old van driver who then ran over them. The investigation is still ongoing to find out exactly how the accident occurred.  The driver of the van apparently did not realize he hit the children and left the scene of the accident.  The two boys were transported to the hospital where one of them was pronounced dead. The other one survived with serious injuries. The driver of the van returned later to the scene of the accident and was questioned by the police. According to preliminary investigation, the children found themselves in the street in front of the van instead of being on the sidewalk. The driver told the police he didn’t know that he hit the children and he was not charged. City records however show that since 2016, the driver accumulated two red-light camera and two school zone speeding tickets.

Another 4 year old child was injured in a car accident in Brooklyn on Saturday evening…

According to the Gothamist, the young pedestrian was in the crosswalk on Ocean Avenue when a driver heading westbound on Parkside Ave hit him.   The accident occurred around 9:00 pm. The boy was transported to the hospital in serious condition. The 50 year old driver stayed at the scene of the accident and so far has not been not charged.

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Location of the deadly e-bike accidentA e-bicyclist died in an accident in New York City a little bit after midnight on Christmas.

The accident occurred in a very dangerous area of sunset park in Brooklyn where several people were previously killed in traffic accidents.

33 year old Alejandro Santos  was riding a e-bike on Third Avenue near the intersection of 24th Street when he collided with the rear of a flat-truck bed that was unoccupied at the time of the accident. The young man was transported to the hospital with serious injuries to his legs as well as internal injuries. He died later on at the hospital.