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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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A hard hat died and five others were injured after a building under construction partially collapsed in the Bronx. 48 year old Segundo Huerta, a father of five, was working on a construction site located at 92 East 208 Street in the Bronx, on Monday around noon, when the third floor of the building started to crumble and falling on workers below. Segundo and his colleagues were hit and buried in concrete and debris.  When  the firefighters arrived, Segundo was trapped and by the time they were able to recover him he had succumbed to fatal injuries.

The other construction workers injured  were Segundo’s family members or good friends. His 21 year old nephew Manuel Giovanni Huerta suffered a serious spine injury. His cousin Santiago Mayancela suffered a torn ear and a leg injury. Luis Romero, the brother of Segundo’s sister in law suffered a serious head injury. Two friends from the family Luis Antonmio Quizhpi and a man identified as Jose were also injured. The group of workers had been working together on construction  sites for more than 12 years. Segundo, originally from Ecuator, had been living in the US for 19 years. The family and relatives that gathered at the scene of the accident were heart broken.

OVERLOADED FLOOR CAVED IN

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More people than ever were injured in auto accidents in New York City and the number of cyclists deaths was back at its highest during the second trimester of 2019.  Despite a significant decline in the total number of accidents recorded by the NYPD during the period of April, May and June, more motorists, passengers and cyclists were injured in accidents during the second trimester of 2019 than during the same period of 2018. Pedestrians were the only NYC road users that recorded a decline in injuries compared to the same period of 2018.

auto accident nyc second trimester 2019
16,084 people were injured in NYC traffic accidents during the second trimester of 2019 compared to respectively 15,624, 15,315, 15,604, 13,461, 13,703 and 14,443 during the second trimester of 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. This is the first time that the number of accident injuries in New York goes over 16,0000 during the second trimester. Motorists are the ones who are the most frequently injured in car accidents. They account for almost half of the cases. Passengers injuries account for almost a third of the injuries.

Car Accident Injuries New York Second trimester 2019
After a steady decline from 2015 to 2018, auto accident fatalities increased again during the second trimester of 2019.  24 pedestrians, 17 motorists, 7 cyclists and 6 passengers died in traffic accidents in New York City last April, May and June.

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location-of-the-deadly-pick-up-truck-accidentA 67 year old pedestrian died from injuries sustained in a pick-up truck accident in New York.  On Saturday August 10th around 9.00 pm, Melissa McClure was in the crosswalk next to her sister at the corner of 15th Street and 6th Ave in Manhattan when a Chevrolet Silverado making a left turn slammed into them. Both women were transported to the hospital. The sister, 59 year old Dorry Chitwood who was visiting from Georgia, suffered a cut in the back of the head. She was treated at the hospital and released shortly after. Melissa sustained major head trauma during the accident.  After she arrived at the hospital, she was put on life support. She never woke up and died from her injuries almost a week later. Melissa who’s nickname was Missy, lived in Chelsea with her two cats. Her sister was visiting from Georgia. After her return flight was cancelled she decided to stay with her sister for an extra night. Both women were on their way for a dinner in Chinatown when the accident occured. The driver of the pick up truck stayed at the scene of the accident.

Dangerous Avenue

Busy 6th Avenue is dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists alike. In June Robyn Hightman was riding her bike when she was fatally stuck by a truck near the intersection of 6th Ave and 23rd Street.  Then at the beginning of August another Chelsea resident, Michael Collopy, died after he was hit by a bicycle. Since January 2016, 18 pedestrians and 15 drivers were injured at this specific intersection.

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a woman was killed in this location after her husband pinned her between the car and the guard railA woman was killed after her husband mowed her down at a NYC car wash. 50 year old Marco Salas and his wife, 51 year old Isabel Cohetero were washing their car at a BP service station on Eliot Ave in Queens when the accident occurred. The couple had finished rinsed off their jeep when it started to slowly roll backward. The husband realized it was in reverse and jumped in the car to stop it. In the rush he hit the gas instead of the breaks and pinned her between the car and the guardrail. The husband realizing what he did, frantically ran to the station to ask for help. Isabel was rushed to the hospital but she didn’t survive.

The couple has been living for the last 24 year at the same address in Ridgewood. They have two sons and a daughter. According the the NY Daily News, the husband was struggling to keep it together after the terrible accident.

Bringing a claim against a family member is always difficult

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craneAfter two successive crane accidents in New York including one fatal, the company United Crane and Rigging was temporary barred from continuing work at 22 construction sites in the city. The NYC DOB will allow the company to restart work only after it replaces some of the employees involved in the recent accidents that occurred on July 30 in the East Village and in April in Soho. On July 30, the company had a crane working at a site located at 749 FDR Drive. The operator of the crane was lifting steel beans when the boom of the crane bent and partially collapsed. The operator then lost control of the load which struck the building before falling on the ground. Thankfully nobody was injured but investigators found that the load lifted by the crane weighted 4,400 pounds while the maximum lifting capacity was 3,700 pounds. Back in April,  34 year old Gregory Echevarria, a war hero who served several deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan died and two other construction workers were injured after a counterweight fell and crushed him during a crane installation by the same operator (see previous blog).

To be able to restart work on its 22 construction sites, United Crane and Rigging has to provide proof to the NYC Department of Buildings that the engineer of record, master rigger, lift director, assembly and disassembly and hoisting machine operators have all been replaced with new staff. Additionally the company also has to hire an independent monitor who will report to the DOB on United Crane and Rigging’s safety compliance.The negligent crane company was also hit with 5 DOB violations for:

  1. inadequate safety measures on site
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Jose-Alzorriz was riding his bike when he was fatally hit by a car in NYC52 year old Jose Alzorritz died in a horrific bicycle accident in New York City on Sunday afternoon. Alzorritz was on his bike at the intersection of Coney Island Avenue and Avenue L when a reckless driver speeding down Coney Island Ave blew the red light and collided with a minivan that was crossing the intersection from Avenue L. The impact was so intense that the minivan slid through the intersection and violently struck the cyclist. When the EMS arrived to the scene of the accident, they found Alzorritz unconscious on the ground with major head trauma. He was rushed to the hospital but he couldn’t be saved. A pedestrian suffered a leg injury and the driver of the van multiple body trauma. They were both hospitalized but their lives are not in danger.  The police didn’t reveal the identity of the reckless driver who caused the accident. They only revealed that he was 18 year old. He was taken into custody and charges are pending. A dashboard video of the accident clearly shows that the driver was reckless and sped through the red light (see below).

Dangerous Avenue

Coney Island Avenue is a dangerous avenue. Last month a pedestrian was killed at the intersection of Church Avenue. Maria Del Carmen Porras-Hernandez was in the crosswalk when she was fatally hit by a car. 19 cyclists, 43 pedestrians and 114 motorists were injured in traffic accidents between July 2018 and July 2019 on Coney Island Avenue. Speeding is frequent and so is double parking. Transportation Alternative published a statement in which the traffic safety advocate is asking Coney Island City Council to unite behind Speaker Corey Johnson’s Streets Master Plan bill, which would accelerate the schedule of redesigning deadly corridors like Coney Island Avenue.

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ProfessorDanielPollackA few years ago, 18 year old Conrad Roy killed himself after his 17 year old girlfriend Michelle Carter encouraged him to commit suicide over text messages. Michelle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and is now serving a 15-month jail sentence. Her conviction was appealed by her lawyer to the US Supreme Court but despite the numerous First Amendment issues related to the handling of the case, Michelle was ordered to serve her sentence.   In a recent article, Daniel Pollack, a professor at Yeshiva University’s School of Social Work in New York City, takes a look at some of these issues and suggests  what can public human services agency or child protective services (CPS) do to discourage this macabre text taunting to suicide activity.

The article can be downloaded here

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The month of April was a bad month for the construction industry in New York: 3 hard hats died in NYC construction accidents and almost 100 were injured. 2 workers died in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn.

On April 8, 51-year-old Nelson Salinas was repairing the facade on a building located  at 311 E. 50th Street near Second Ave on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. He was standing on a suspended scaffold at the 7th floor of the 14 story building when a piece of coping stone that was under one of the C-Hooks fell onto him. Salinas was transported to the hospital where he died from his injuries.

Two days later a young worker fell to his death in Brooklyn. 23-year-old Erik Mendoza, a Mexican immigrant, was replacing bricks under the water tower of a 13 story building located on Pierrepont Street. Mendoza had just been hired to work for the building a week before the fatal accident occurred. He didn’t receive any site safety orientation for working on the penthouse roof, no guard-rail or fall protection were installed and the young man wasn’t provided with fall protection equipment. The owner of the building was issued a DOB violation and a Full Stop Work Order was issued.

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Since 2011 the number of construction workers who died in a fall accident increased by 45% according to the recent report “Trends of Fall Injuries and Prevention in the Construction Industry” released by the The Center for Construction Research and Training.

The report focuses mostly on data from 2011 to 2017 and found that despite a slow down in construction accident fatalities between 2016 and 2017, the number of deaths related to fall accidents continued to rise. 389 construction workers fell to their death in 2017 compared to 388 in 2016.

construction deaths and fall deaths 2003 to 2017
Among the 389 fall fatalities, 367 were to a lower level. Falls from roofs are the most common and account for approximately one third of the fall fatalities. Falls from ladders are the second most common causes of fall fatalities and account for approximately a quarter of them.  All in all falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolds account for more than 70% of all falls to a lower level.

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cyclist-nyc-e15620847726003 people died in bicycle accidents in NYC during the last 7 days.

Last Monday Robyn Hightman, a bike courier, was fatally struck by a truck on 6th Ave near 25th Street. Both the truck and the cyclist were heading in the same direction when they collided. The truck driver first didn’t stop but then returned to the scene of the accident after a witness in another car told him he hit someone. the driver told the police he didn’t know he hit the cyclist. Police said the driver was let go after he was hit with five summonses. The driver, 54 year old Antonio Garcia said it was the first time he had an accident since he started to work for his employer 14 years ago. However a look at the Howsmydrivingnyc.com indicates that the truck was hit with 83 violations since 2015 mostly for parking but also for speeding. A vigil was organized for Robyn during which hundreds of cyclists gathered and expressed not only their sadness but also their anger at authorities that are doing very little to hold drivers accountable. Robyn was the 12th cyclist in New York City to be killed in traffic this year.

Last Thursday night  around 9:00 pm, 57 year old Ernest Askew was fatally struck by an 18 year old driver on Sutter Avenue near Chester in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The car driver wasn’t arrested. Brownsville which is a low income community of color doesn’t have any protected bike lanes and there are not many efforts being made in regards to street safety. Cyclists share wide roadways with cars and speeding is common. At a vigil for Ernest Askew yesterday evening activists asked the city to address the lack of equity in low-income communities of color when it comes to protected bike lanes and street safety.