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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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car accident Last week, Pete Butigieg revealed a national plan to significantly reduce personal injuries and deaths caused by car crashes. The National Roadway Strategy is an ambitious plan to reach a long term goal toward zero roadway fatalities on American roads.  The announcement  of a “Vision Zero” plan at national scale is coming in the steps of a significant increase  of road fatalities in the US. According to early estimates by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 20,160 people died in auto accidents in the US, an increase of 18.4% compared to the same period of 2020.  This is the highest projection of road deaths since 2006 for that particular period.

The National Roadway Strategy is a major change of direction for the US DOT which in the past was not doing much for road safety with the exception of producing accident statistics. The details of the strategy and how local leaders and States will implement it are not defined yet but they will be based on the “Safe System Approach:  Safer People, Safer Roads, Safer Vehicles, Safer Speeds, and Post-Crash Care”. This approach is very similar to the Vision Zero approach already developed in New York City and in other cities, especially in Europe, and consist in developing programs to reduce crashes and make them less deadly.  A Safe System is based on 6 principles:

  1. Serious injuries and death are not acceptable: the goal of the system is to eliminate catastrophic accidents
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most dangerous disctricts in NYC for car crashes fatalities2021 was the deadliest year of Vision Zero with 273 people dying in car accidents in New York City. According to a recent report by “Transportation Alternatives”, the number of deaths in 2021 represent a 33% increase of fatalities compared to 2018 which was the safest year of the Vision Zero program.

Hit and run accidents leading to critical injuries increased by 45% compared to a year before and doubled compared to 2018 while arrests of hit and run drivers decreased by 12% compared to 2018. Additionally, only 3% of hit and run cases got solved.

Transportation Alternatives also studied data from crashmapper and found that the share of SUV’s involved in accidents resulting in pedestrian deaths increased by 42% between the first term and the second term of mayor de Blasio. Big vehicles decrease visibility and are especially a danger to cyclists and pedestrians.

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location of the fatal sanitation truck accidentA man on a e-Scooter was fatally struck by a New York City sanitation truck yesterday in Brooklyn. The victim was a 55 year old man who was traveling south on Rockaway Ave in Brownsville. He was struck by the sanitation truck at the Ditmas Ave intersection. The driver of the sanitation truck hit the e-scooter while he was making a right turn onto Rockaway Ave. The driver of the sanitation bus stayed at the scene of the accident while the victim was rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately the victim could not be saved. The police are still investigating the accident. (read more in the NY Daily News)

The streets of New York have been quite dangerous recently with one accident everyday killing or critically injuring someone and sometimes more

On Monday night, around 6:30 pm, a 75 year old pedestrian crossing  McGuiness Boulevard was hit by a 70 year old driver near the intersection of Norman Avenue. McGuiness Boulevard is a very dangerous Boulevard that was supposed to be redesigned under de Blasio Vision Zero but it never happened. According to Streetblog NYC, there were 1,290 crashes reported to the NYPD on McGuiness Boulevard during the de Blasio era including one pedestrian fatality, one cyclist fatality, 198 motorists injuries, 46 pedestrian injuries and 39 cyclist injuries.

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Eric Adams wants to reduce car accident injuries and fatalitiesLast year, NYC Car accident fatalities reached their highest level since 2013 and the carnage continued in January. After a 15 year old girl was killed by a school bus in Brooklyn last week, (see previous blog)  Mayor Adams told New Yorkers that he plans to make the city safer by redesigning 1,000 intersections and use the NYPD to crack down on reckless drivers. Adams said that cyclists and drivers who failed to yield to pedestrians will be ticketed as well as drivers who run red lights or fail to stop at stop signs. The NYPD will also crack down on drivers and cyclists who do not yield to pedestrians while crossing intersections without stop signs. This new regulation is supposed to make safer around 1,200 intersections that have no signalization in the city.

Adams held his press conference at the intersection of Caton Ave and Coney Island Avenue and said 26 people suffered injuries in car accidents at this particular intersection and that 5 other people died in auto accidents on Coney Island Avenue. The mayor wants to focus on improving intersections in the city and make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Previous statistics indicate that most accidents resulting in injuries or deaths in New York City occurred at intersections. Therefore intersections have to be safer.

The mayor pledged that by the end of 2022, 1,000 intersections in New York City will be improved. These improvements include the addition of 100 raised pedestrian crossings and 100 bike corrals at intersections. Some parking places where big vehicles reduce visibility for pedestrians will be removed as well.

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location of the fatal pedestrian accident in QueensNew York City streets remain deadly for pedestrians with reckless drivers continuing to create mayhem and killing people as the below frightening surveillance video of a near miss accident shows.

Over less than a week, two pedestrian died and one was critically injured. On Monday morning, 15 year old Antonia Zalutovska was rolled over by a school bus who failed to yield to her (see previous blog). A few days before, on Thursday last week, one pedestrian died and another one suffered life threatening injuries in two separate reckless car accidents.

Unlicensed driver kills pedestrian in Queens

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location of the deadly school bus accidentA 15 year old girl was fatally struck by a yellow school bus driver in Brooklyn, NYC.  The accident occurred yesterday morning around 7:55 am. Antonia Zatulovska was on her way to school. She was in the crosswalk at the intersection of Bedford Avenue and Avenue P when a long yellow school bus with children on board made a turn off Avenue P onto Bedford Avenue and rolled over her. Surveillance video caught the shocking accident.

After he rolled over the victim, the driver of the bus briefly stopped and then sped away. Police tracked him down and found him and the bus on Neptune Avenue near West 6th Street in Coney Island.

Bus driver not charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident so far

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18 people died (8 pedestrians, 8 motorists, 1, cyclist, 1 passenger) and  4,434 were injured in NYC crashes in November 2021 compared to respectively 28 and 4,039 in 2020. The total number of auto fatalities was also lower than in October 2021 during which 28 people died in crashes in the city. While the pandemic changed the way people are commuting in the city, the number of traffic deaths which had exploded in November 2020, is back to a level similar to the last 3 previous years, hovering around 20. Globally, over the last 8 years, the NYC traffic fatalities trendline is declining, however it is the first time since last May that monthly traffic fatalities are actually below this trendline. (Click on graphs for full view)

NYC auto accident deaths November 2021
Pedestrians and motorists represented most of the deaths with 8 of  each category dying in crashes in November. Additionnally one cyclist and one passenger also died in crashes during that month. In November 2020,  the high number of deaths was mostly caused by a much higher number of cyclists (6) and pedestrians (13) deaths, while the number of motorist and passenger deaths were lower and similar to November 2021 (6 and 1). November 21 was also a better month than October 21 during which  8 motorists, 5 passengers, 3 cyclists and 12 pedestrians lost their lives in crashes.

Motor vehicle accident fatalities NYC November 2021
NYC Auto accident injuries remained lower than usual last November with 4,434 crash injuries compared to respectively 4,039, 4,733, 4,943, 4,892, 5,014, 4,357, 4,222 and 4,692 in November 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  Before the pandemic, the monthly number of car accident injuries was usually above 4500 during the month of November. During the pandemic it dropped lower and as a result the trendline which was previously slightly increasing is now slightly decreasing.

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the NYC building where 19 people died in a fireA door that malfunctioned and was left open in an apartment in which a defective heater started a fire caused heavy smoke to spread through a residential high-rise building in the Bronx and lead to the death of 19 people including 9 children. Another 32 people who suffered critical injury and 3 who suffered serious injury were rushed to the hospital. 19 other people suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene. This is the most catastrophic fire in New York City since the Happy Land fire 30 years ago. A couple, Mahamadou Toure and his wife, lost 2 of their 5 children in the fire.

The fire started in a duplex located at the third floor of a building located at 333 E. 181st St. in the Bronx and was caused by a defective space heater.  The door of the apartment where the fire started was left open and a very heavy black smoke invaded all the hallways of the building.  The building had no fire escape and the stairwells that were supposed to be used as emergency exits quickly filled with heavy smoke. The smoke also invaded all the stairwell exits that were left open. Firefighters found victims in cardiac arrest on every floor and in the stairwells. Other people were trapped in their apartments. Those on the highest floor were told by 911 to put towels at the bottom of their door and stay in their apartment until they were told it would be safe to go out. People on the lowest floors closer to the fire were evacuated by their window.

The building that was built in 1972 under federal guidelines had multiple units converted into duplexes. According to FDNY some spaces were hard to reach because of the old design of the building.

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drunk drivingA woman whose identity was not revealed and a 20 year old boy identified as Frankely Nunez-Payano both died in drunk driving accidents in New York City this week-end. Both were passengers in cars driven by young drunk drivers. Both accidents happened minutes apart from each other.

The first accident took place in Jamaica, Queens, on Saturday night around 4:10 am.  23 year old Gilberto Cordova, was allegedly drunk when he was speeding down 112th road in Jamaica, Queens, with 5 passengers in his car. As he was near the intersection of Guy R. Brewer Blvd, he lost control of the vehicle, struck a pole and crashed into a parked van. The impact was so intense that the van jumped onto the sidewalk. All occupants were rushed to the hospital. The female passenger died from her injuries. the other 5 occupants all suffered serious injury but were in stable condition. Cordova was charged with driving while intoxicated, vehicular assault, criminal negligent homicide and vehicular manslaughter.

A few minutes later in the Bronx, another drunk driver, 19 year old Andre Hatcher, crashed his car into a truck, killing his friend, 20 year old Frankely Nunez-Payano. The 19-wheeler truck was driving east on Manida street and Oak Point Boulevard when it was T-boned by the Infiniti driven by Hatcher. The car got crushed under the truck and the passenger suffered critical injury. He later died at the hospital. The driver was taken into custody and later on charged with criminally negligent homicide, manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and driving while impaired.

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carbon monoxide danger signEvery year in the US, thousands of people are injured and an average 70 die from exposure to carbon monoxide after using a portable generator. With more and more power shortages caused by climate events, the number of deaths caused by dangerous carbon monoxide emissions from generators is on the rise in America. Last February in Texas, after a major power shortage, 1,400 people were treated in hospitals for carbon monoxide poisoning and 17 died.

One portable generator can emit the same amount of carbon monoxide as 450 cars together

According to a recent investigation by ProPublica,  the portable generator manufacturers are well aware of the danger of their products and over the years they have been resisting multiple attempts by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to require that their devices emit less carbon monoxide.