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 young couple died and 5 other people suffered serious injury in a car accident involving 5 vehicles early Thursday morning in New York City.  So far the investigators are still trying to figure out what exactly caused the five-car chain reaction crash.

The accident occurred between 1:00 am and 2:00 am  on the Nassau Expressway in Inwood.  The massive collision left debris of car parts, oil and gasoline over 800 feet on the highway. According to the police one of the cars’engines went out of the vehicle.

The young couple was identified by the police as 21-year-old Yisroel Levin, of Brooklyn, and 20-year-old Elisheva Basya Kaplan, of Far Rockaway.  They got trapped in their car as it burst on fire. The two of them got engaged last week and were set to be married over the summer.

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location of the fatal pedestrian accident BK NYCThe investigation is still ongoing in the NYC car accident during which Dorothy Burns drove into a group of pedestrians and killed two young children on March 5th. According to a new article in the NY Daily News, a medical crew was dispatched to Burns’ apartment on March 2nd after receiving a call about a cardiac condition. It wasn’t the first time that emergency responders showed up at this address. Investigators found that they were previously called to the rescue for cardiac condition on December 22nd and November 19th.  The health of Dorothy Burns had deteriorated so much at the beginning of the year that she had to ask for a medical leave from her job in January. She didn’t return until February after she received a medical clearance. The investigators are now trying to find out if the doctors told Burns she had to stop driving because of her condition. The woman who suffers from multiple sclerosis had a seizure before crashing into a group of pedestrians who were crossing the road in Park Slope. Two young children died and three other people were injured in the accident (see previous blog

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Speed_cameras1Dorothy Burns, the woman who killed two children and sent their mothers to the hospital after going through a red light, had a history of reckless driving. She was caught four times for running a red light and four other times for speeding in school zones. However she was still able to drive around the city.

In Today’s editorial, the New York Daily News is pointing out several cases of dangerous drivers who have been caught multiple times endangering pedestrians lives but still have their driving licence.

Drivers who are being caught by speed or red-light cameras only risk a $50 fine in New York City. There are no other consequences whatever the number of times they are caught doing it. The Daily News found out that a dozen drivers have accumulated more than 45 tickets each and are still able to drive in the city.  Privacy Laws prevented the Daily News from obtaining the names of these drivers. However they found out that the same car in Queens got 74 tickets for speeding in school zone and 1 for going through a red light.  A white van got 59 speeding tickets and 7 red light violations. Two livery cars with TLC licenses  had a total of 22 red light violations and 25 speeding tickets.

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A hard hat died at a NYC construction site after being crushed between a forklift and and a flatbed truck. 46 year old Jorge Castaneda from Queens was working at a Brooklyn construction site located at the intersection of Stewart Street and Broadway in Buschwick, Saturday afternoon around 3:00 pm. The construction worker walked between a flatbed truck and a forklift that was carrying scaffolding pipes. The forklift tipped over as it was passing next to Castaneda, crushing him against the truck.  Emergency responders lifted the forklift, liberated the poor man and rushed him to the hospital. Unfortunately the worker couldn’t be saved. He died from his injuries.  Read more in the NY Daily News

Forklifts are dangerous machines and unfortunately accidents involving workers on foot struck by such machines are all too common. Very often accidents occur because safety protocols established by the New York State Department of Labor were not followed. In the case of the death of Jorge Castaneda, the forklift may have tipped because it was not in compliance with Industrial Code §23-9.8(b) stating that forklifts may not be overloaded.

Picture of the site of the accident courtesy of Google Map

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helicopter about to drown5 people died in a helicopter accident in New York on Sunday. Only the pilot, 33 year old Richard Vance, survived. The passengers were two 26 year old friends from Dallas, Trevor Cadigan and Brian McDaniel, an Argentinean tourist, 29 year old Carla Vallejos Blanco and two employees of the helicopter company, 34 year old Daniel Thompson and 29 year old Tristan Hill.  They were riding aboard a door-off helicopter that used to be reserved for professional photography but has been recently marketed to tourists as well.  Because the doors are opened during the entire flight, passengers are secured in complicated harness systems. Unfortunately what made the harness safe when in the sky became a death device during the crash. As the helicopter quickly went down in the freezing water of the East River, none of the passengers were able to free themselves from the safety harness. The federal regulators announced yesterday that they would give urgent attention on the use of harnesses for aerial photography.

Before boarding the 5 passengers were required to look at a 10-minute safety video which briefly explains that there is a knife in a pocket of the harness that has to be used to cut a strap in the back of the harness in case of emergency . Tourist are often so excited that they don’t really pay attention to the video. Additionally when someone is upside down panicking in freezing water , everything becomes much more difficult. One would hvae to be trained like a Navy Seal to free himself in such difficult conditions.

The pilot told investigators that a bag or a strap of a bag may have touched a fuel control switch however experts doubt that this theory is plausible.  The pilot then realized he was experiencing engine trouble and decided to attempt an emergency landing. He could have chosen Central Park but he decided to land on the East River instead. The pilot executed what is known as an emergency auto rotation maneuver but the helicopter turned over and sank with the passengers stuck in their safety harnesses. The emergency inflatable pontoons didn’t function proprely. Read more in the NY Post.

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NYC Fatal traffic accidents were at their lowest last January. During the first month of 2018, 11 people died in a traffic accident compared to respectively 18, 17, 13, 21 and 28 in January 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. The only months when the number of monthly fatal auto accidents in New York City was this low was in March 2016 and in May 2017. The monthly number of traffic deaths never went below 11 in the city.

While traffic fatalities have been on a declining trend since Vision Zero started, the opposite occurred with traffic injuries. They have been on a rising trend. However recent numbers seem to show some signs of stabilization.  4,351 people were injured in a car accident in New York City in January 2018. That’s a little bit less than the 4,383 people injured in January 2017 but more than respectively the 3,654, 3,449, 3,899 and 3,993 people injured in January 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

Globally, traffic accidents continue to increase in New York City. Despite being lower than most previous months, the number of traffic accidents in New York City reached 17,762 in January 2018 compared to respectively 17,126, 17,798, 15,977, 16,597, 15,599 in January 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. January  is usually a month during which traffic accidents are lower than other months. The number of accidents is usually below the trend line in January.

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location of the fatal pedestrian accident BK NYCTwo young pedestrians died a 3 adults were injured after being hit by a reckless driver in Brooklyn, NYC, on Monday afternoon. 44 year Dorothy Burns was behind the wheel of her Volvo Sedan when she slowly drove through a red light and drove into pedestrians crossing the road at the intersection of Ninth Street and Fifth Ave  in Park Slope (see Google Map picture for location). Then she crashed into another car.

A 20-month-old boy, Joshua Lew, and a 4 year old  girl, Abigaeil Blumenstein, were killed in the accident. Their mothers, 34-year-old Ruthie Ann Blumenstein and 33-year-old Lauren Lew were both hospitalized. Ruthie Ann Blumenstein, a talented Broadway actress also known as Ruthie Ann Miles, is pregnant. She is still in critical condition . A male pedestrian was also hospitalized after being injured in the accident.

Disturbing videos of the accident show the driver slowly running the red light and ten picking up speed and almost intentionally plowing into pedestrians before continuing and crashing into another car.

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Two people died and 9 were injured in a fire accident in New York City. The fire started on the first floor of a building located on Hoffman Street near 87th Street in Belmont, Bronx around 1:30 am on Monday morning. After the fire broke out in one of the apartments on the first floor, tenants ran away without closing the door behind them to prevent flames from spreading. The fire quickly engulfed the rest of the building trapping residents on the second floor.  The scene was extremely chaotic as firefighters had to fight the flames to make their way upstairs to save the residents. 11 of them including a 7 year old girl were transported to the hospital, some with critical burn injuries. Two of them died shortly after.

Last December a similar fire accident occurred in the same neighborhood killing 13 people. The fire propagated in a similar manner in the building after a door was left opened by tenants as they were escaping their burning apartment. (Read previous post).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9zX2HV5k7o

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accident sceneAn 83-year-old man died after being hit by a pick-up truck in Manhattan. The pedestrian identified as Gilbert DiBernardo was killed in front of his apartment building in KipsBay.  The collision occurred Friday afternoon around 4:00 pm.  The man was in the crosswalk located on Second Avenue and was almost across the street when according to the NY Daily News the light turned green for the cars. He was struck by a Chevrolet Silverado driven by a 53 year old driver. The driver told the police that he braked but wasn’t able to stop his truck in time. The pedestrian was transported to the hospital with a massive head injury. He died the following day.

Another man died in a truck accident on Tuesday morning. 48 year old John P. Riofrio was driving his truck on I 287 near White Plains when he collided with another vehicle. He lost control of his truck and skidded off the road. The truck flipped over the guardrail and landed in a small stream. The driver died at the scene of the accident. Two passengers suffered minor injuries and were treated at the scene of the accident. Read more in the Lohud

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accident sceneThe passenger of a car died after the driver crashed into the back of a truck in New York. The accident occurred early Tuesday morning on Frederick Douglas Blvd near the intersection of 129th Street in Harlem.  A 35 year old woman driving a Mercedes crashed into the back of a milk truck that was double parked. The impact was so strong that the car then crossed over the entire boulevard and crashed into a tree. Paramedics who arrived on the scene of the accident, rushed the two car occupants to the hospital. The passenger, identified as 33 year old Angel Campana died from his injury. The driver only suffered minor injuries to her face. She was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

Read more in The Patch