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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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Sara-Perez18 year old Sara Perez was fatally struck by a by a 16 year old driver in Queens NYC. The accident occurred last Thursday in front of the Northern Lube and Tire Shop at 106 Northern Boulevard near 107th street.  A video  shows the pedestrian on the sidewalk  waiting for the pick up truck to back out of the garage. After the truck moved out of the way, the young woman proceeded to walk again. As she was doing so, the driver of the pick up truck suddenly reversed into drive, accelerated and crashed into her at a high rate speed. She was crushed against a fence in front of several horrified witnesses. One of them got so upset that he  opened the door of the truck, pulled the driver out and pinned his hand behind his back.

When EMS arrived Sara was unresponsive. She was rushed to the hospital but she could not be saved and was pronounced dead. The young woman was heading home after buying some food for her 10 kittens. She lived just a block away. Sara was fostering stray cats kittens so they could be adopted. She was planning on becoming a veterinarian. She loved animals. The family of Sara set up a gofundme  (picture) to help with the funeral costs and other bills related to the accident.

The driver of the Ford F-150 pickup truck stayed at the scene of the accident. So far he has not been charged or arrested.  It seemed that the young man  backed the car out into the heavy traffic of Northern Boulevard, almost hitting another car, panicked, reversed into drive, pressed the gas and slammed into the pedestrian.

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location of the fatal hit and run accidentLast May, a man behind the wheel of a Rolls Royce fatally struck a pedestrian crossing  Bayard Street at the intersection of McGuiness Boulevard and sped away. The pedestrian was 58 year old Matthew  Jensen. He was a beloved teacher at PS 110 and the Greenpoint community was very moved by his death. After the accident (see previous blog). 

The negligent driver is a 30 year old FDNY EMT

The NYPD announced yesterday that they identified the hit-and-run driver as Tariq Witherspoon, a 30 year old FDNY EMT. They arrested him and charged him with speeding, reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident and criminally negligent homicide.

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NYC construction workers have a high risk of fatalities Construction worker deaths in New York City and New York State represented respectively 22% and 24% of all worker deaths in the city and in the State in 2020 according to the annual report “Deadly Skyline” recently published by NYCOSH. The percentage is higher than the 21% rate recorded at the national level.

While less workers died in 2020 in NY and and NYC, data are difficult to compare as many construction sites shut down during the lock down. 41 construction workers died in accidents in New York State in 2020 compared to 55 in 2019. Among them, 13 died on New York City construction sites in 2020 compared to 24 in 2019.

Fatality rate is a better measure of how dangerous the work places are: In New York State, the construction workers fatality rate was 11.1 per 100,000 workers in 2020 compared to 10.2 in 2019. This indicates that work conditions were more dangerous for workers in 2020 than in 2019 in New York State. In New York City, the fatality rate declined from 11.6 to 7 per 100.000 which is quite an improvement and an indication that the recent measures taken by the city to make construction sites safer may work. Over the last few years, the budget for the New York City Department of Building has been increasing and so did the number of employees working on safety legislation and inspections.

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college point boulevard where the cyclist was struckOn June 4 2021, 16 year old Darwin Durazno died in a bicycle accident in Queens, NYC. The driver never stopped and Darwin was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. He died from his injuries 3 days later.  According to the police report, Darwin was riding his bicycle southbound on College Point Boulevard near 18th Avenue  when the driver of a Toyota Camry swerved into the ongoing traffic lane and crashed head-on into the bicyclist.  He then sped off leaving Darwin lying in the street with severe head trauma.

Witnesses of the accident were able to provide a detailed description of the car and of the driver, a male in his 20-30 as well as what the driver was wearing. The police found that the car was a rental from Enterprise that the driver left a block away from the accident scene before fleeing on foot.

It took 8 more months for the police to establish that the driver who killed Darwin was 27 year old Christian Soriano, a Corona resident. Soriano was arrested last week and was charged with driving without a license, leaving the scene of an accident and criminally negligent homicide.  (Read more in StreetBlog)

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dangerous intersection of Cypress and CooperReckless driving in New York City continues and another pedestrian died in a horrific car accident last Saturday night in Queens. A video posted on Twitter (see below) shows the pedestrian crossing in front of a white SUV who did not yield to him and knocked him down on the ground. Then the driver of a black SUV whose car was so tall that he probably did not see the pedestrian lying on the ground, rolled over him and dragged him under his car for a few feet.  The 57 year old pedestrian was still breathing when the EMS rescued him but he died shortly later at the hospital. The driver of the white SUV, a 40 year old man received a summons for failure to yield. The NYPD did not say if the driver of the black SUV was charged. Large SUVs and trucks are responsible for a large number of pedestrian injuries and deaths in New York City.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Cypress and Cooper which is close to Glendale, Queens as well as Ridgewood and Bushwick in Brooklyn. Both cars were making a left turn from Cooper Avenue onto Cypress while other cars coming from the other direction were also turning right onto Cypress. The video shows the white SUV cutting really short in front of another car making a right turn and then the black SUV driving over the pedestrian to avoid a collision with another car turning right as well.

The intersection is notoriously dangerous but except for new pavement last year, it was never redesigned. During the de Blasio administration, according to NYC Crash Mapper, 153 crashes occurred at this location resulting in 73 people injured. Among them were 56 motorists, 10 pedestrians and 7 cyclists.

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Tesla Motors is facing product liability lawsuitsA man who was seriously injured and whose wife died after their Tesla struck a fire truck while on Autopilot mode is suing Tesla for personal injury and wrongful death. Derek Monet was driving his car on autopilot on a highway in Indiana in December 2019 when the car crashed into the rear of a fire truck that was responding to an accident and was stopped on the road.  Derek suffered a broken spine and a broken femur and his wife died in the accident

In his claim Derek says Tesla knew that its software failed to react to emergency vehicles with flashing lights but did not recall its vehicles to update the software.  The claim was filed  after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation last year and asked Tesla to release its non-disclosure agreements with drivers who were testing the “full-self” driving system. The NHTSA is aware of 11 similar accidents during which Tesla cars struck emergency vehicles with flashing lights and wants to know why the car manufacturer did not recall its vehicles after it transmitted a wireless software update designed to prevent crashes into stationary objects.

The 68 page lawsuit demonstrates how Elon Musk and other executives were well aware that the autopilot was not safe but that the company continued to “hype”  its cars as if they were

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Ydanis_Rodriguez26 people died in traffic crashes in  NYC this month according to the NYPD. This is a 63% increase compared to January 2021 when 16 people died in auto accidents in the city. This is the highest number of car accident fatalities since Vision Zero started in February 2014. 28 people died in car accidents in January 2013 and 21 in January 2014. After that the number of car accident deaths in January remained below 20 with respectively 13, 17, 18, 11, 19 and 19 fatalities in January 2015, 2016, 2017. 2018. 2019 and 2020. Among the victims were a 99 year old holocaust survivor and a teenager struck by a school bus on her way to school. After  this horrible accident, Mayor Adams said the NYPD would crack down on drivers who fail to yield to pedestrians and the new Transportation Commissioner, Ydanis Rodriguez said “At DOT the team is working 24/7 to come out with a different way of how we redesign the streets, reorganize the signal system, everything we have in our agency to address this epidemic”. January numbers however show a different story: less tickets were issued for failure to yield in January 2022 than in January 2021 and among the 3,000 to 6,000 reckless drivers who have been listed in the new “Dangerous Vehicle Abatement Program” managed by the DOT, only 97 took the mandated driving class so far.

Additionnally,  last Thursday, a DOT crew tried to dismantle a popular  Open Street on Willoughby Avenue in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn without informing the community. Residents immediately reacted and protested with anger. As a result the same day at night, DOT workers were reinstalling the Open Street signs that had been removed hours earlier. The residents were extremely surprised by the DOT reaction as the Open Street experience on Willoughby Avenue was very popular and the first open street to receive “Light Touch” treatment by the DOT such as planters, signage, curb extension and other safety amenities.  The dismantlement came a few days after the DOT announced that it was postponing the creation of a well needed pedestrian lane on the Queensboro bridge.

This is definitely not a good start for the DOT.

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Oriental Boulevard99 year old Jack Mikulincer was crossing the street in his electric wheelchair when he was fatally struck by a car. Mikulincer who survived two wars, the Nazi invasion of Hungary and the Holocaust was mowed down by one of his neighbors as he was taking his weekly trip to the synagogue.  The driver who was identified as 52 year old Pyotr Yadgarov, was driving his BMW SUV west on Oriental Boulevard in Manhattan Beach when he struck Jack Mikulincer who was crossing north near Coleridge Street, right next to his house.

The area is residential and the BMW driver lives just four blocks away from the victim. In such areas in NYC, the speed limit is 25 MPH.

Yadgarov who was not charged, has a history of speeding and recklessness. The plates of the car show a total of 10 speed camera tickets and 4 other tickets for running red lights since 2016. Last year only, the car was caught 6 times speeding in school zones.  Additionnally there are no pedestrian crosswalks on Oriental Boulevard, making it  even more dangerous for pedestrians to get to the other side of the Boulevard.

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OSHA logoAfter a hard hat fatally fell 60 feet during demolition work on one of its construction sites, Richmond Construction, based in Queens, NYC, was hit by a $374,603 OSHA fine. This is the second highest OSHA fine for the last quarter of  2021.

Last May, a 49 year old worker hired by Richmond Construction was working on the demolition of the Flatbush Bank Building in Brooklyn. He had just finished breaking apart a section of the roof with a jackhammer and was  walking on the top of the exposed side when a piece of concrete on which he was standing broke apart. The man fell 60 feet down to the ground and died. The worker was not using proper safety equipment and had no training to execute such a dangerous job.

The OSHA investigators found that Richmond Construction failed to provide lifesaving fall protection and did not train employees to recognize and avoid fall hazards. The contractor was cited for 9 willful, repeat and serious violations including:

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Caption Description File URL: https://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneysblog.com/files/2022/02/dangerous-road-conditions-NYC-scaled.jpg Copy URL to clipboard ATTACHMENT DISPLAY SETTINGS Alignment None Link To Media File URL https://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneysblog.com/files/2022/02/dangerous-road-conditions-NYC-scaled.jpg Size Full Size – 2383 × 2560 Selected media actions 1 item selected Clear Insert into postA Brooklyn woman is the 12th pedestrian to die in a car accident in New York City since the beginning of this year. In a very graphic video the 64 year old pedestrian is seen walking West on the North sidewalk of Foster Avenue. As she arrives at the intersection of East 17th Avenue, she waits for the light to turn green and then proceeds to walk on the snowy street. At the same time, the driver of a grey Chevy makes a right turn from Foster onto 17th Street, does not yield  or slows down and slams into the pedestrian.

The driver, a 57 year old woman,  stayed at the scene of the accident and so far was not charged. The victim was rushed to the hospital where she died.

While the video clearly shows that the driver did not yield to the pedestrian, the snow that had not been proprely removed from the intersection made the area even more dangerous to navigate for pedestrians and vehicles.