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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NYC Motor vehicle accidents injuries reached a record high in 2018. 1,083 pedestrians, 4,281 cyclists, 18,687 passengers and 26,843 motorists suffered personal injury in a crash in New York City in 2018. 60,646 people were injured in NYC traffic accidents in 2018 compared to 58,990 in 2017 and 54,818 in 2013. Over the last five years the number of traffic injuries increased by more than 10%. The main reason for this increase are motorists injured in auto accidents often related to distracted driving. Distracted driving is the number one cause of crashes in New York.

Motor Vehicle Accident Injuries NYC 2018
The total number of traffic fatalities in New York City in 2018 was below 200 for the first time since Vision Zero was implemented. 112 pedestrians, 70 motorists, 9 cyclists and 8 passengers were killed in traffic accidents in the city in 2018. Annual traffic fatalities declined by more than 30% since 2013.

traffic fatalities New York 2018
The total number of crashes in the city has been culminating above 227,000 for the last 3 years with a record 227,924 accidents in 2018. Driver inattention is the primary cause of accidents followed by driver following too closely. Backing unsafely and changing lanes unsafely are two other common causes of accidents in the city. Since 2013 auto accidents increased by 12%.

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Location of the deadly limo accident3 months after 20 people were killed in a limousine accident in Schoaries, NY (see previous blog), the National Transportation Safety Board has still not been able to inspect the vehicle. The NTSB has not been able to get closer than 15 feet from the vehicle because the local district attorney is blocking them from doing so. The accident was the deadliest of all traffic accidents in the US since 2009.  The vehicle was a modified 2001 Ford excursion that had failed a state inspection and was driven by a driver that didn’t have the credentials to drive such vehicle.

In certain area such as aviation or train transportation, the NTSB has the legal authority to control the investigation but in highway crashes, local authorities are in charge and in this case the local district attorney has been keeping the federal agency from completing their investigation.

Loss of critical evidence

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US deaths from Methylene ChlorideMethylene Chloride is a dangerous product that has previously caused the death of many people. Short term exposure to methylene chloryde can cause mental confusion, nausea, vomiting , headache and death in the worst cases. In the long term, workers exposed to it can develop cancer, nervous system problems, toxicity in their kidney, liver and reproductive system.Major retailers such as Lowes and Home Depot have removed it from their shelves even before the EPA finalized a ban proposal that was published one day before President Obama left office.  In Europe the deadly chemical was pulled from general use in 2011.

Last May, Scott Pruit confirmed that the EPA was committed to finalize the proposed methylene chloride ban however last month the EPA drafted two new final rules that would ban the use of methylene chloryde to regular consumers but not to commercial operators.  Two new final rules drafted by the EPA allow the usage of the dangerous product for commercial use as long as the workers using it have been trained.  These rules that have not been made public yet but that have been sent by the EPA to the Office of Management and Budget have sparked the furor of public health advocates and and of congressional Democrats. This is a major step back compared to the proposed rule announced by the EPA during the Obama era.

Workers specialized in refinishing bathtubs are the most at risk of dying from Methylene Chloride exposure

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Production_of_cheeseA worker died after falling in a mixing machine in Orangeburg in Rockland County NY. Edwin Nunez, a 41 year old worker at the Icco cheese factory was found dead inside a mixing machine on January 15th around 10:30 am. According to the Daily Voice, Nunez was familiar with the machine. It was his regular assigned workstation.  The accident is being investigated by OSHA.

Industrial mixing machines can be dangerous and injuries and deaths related to mixing machine accidents are sadly not uncommon. In their investigation, OSHA inspectors will have to determine if the machine was installed in compliance with OSHA safety measures and if the worker was sufficiently protected from potential exposure to the machine hazards. The following factors are usually taken into consideration when evaluating employee exposure to industrial mixers:

  • Point of operation: was the employee performing his task from a safe location?
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New-York-School-Zone-Speed-CameraSpeed cameras have proven their efficiency in reducing car accidents as well as  pedestrian injuries and deaths. As part of the Vision Zero Program, 140 speed cameras were installed nearby schools all over the city. The installation of the cameras led to a decline of 63% of  speeding in school zones and pedestrian injuries decreased by 23%.

Based on this successful record the city asked the NY Senate for more cameras but New York State Senators refused to vote on a bill to continue the program and increase the number of cameras in NYC school zones to 290. As a result, all the 140 cameras were shut off in the middle of last summer.

After that episode, the Mayor signed a new city bill at the beginning of September to not only preserve but also expand the use of speed cameras in school zones. In order for the bill to become law, Cuomo declared a state of emergency and so far has been renewing the emergency order every month. The bill provided no cap on the number of speed cameras that the city was permitted to deploy.  The result of a collaborative effort between City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, the bill can only expire after the state legislature passes a “photo speed violation monitoring program in the City of New York that is identical to, substantially similar to or more expansive in scope than the program that would result from the enactment of A. 7798-C, as passed by the New York state assembly on June 18, 2018.”

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Pickup truck accident locationA pedestrian was fatally struck by a pick up truck in New York City last Friday around 5 pm.  51 year old Jose Rubi was crossing Maspeth Avenue in Bushwick when he was hit by a 46 year old man driving a 2015 Ford pick up. The driver stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged. According to the police, the driver was attempting to make a left turn onto Vandervoort Ave when he struck Rubi. He told the police that he didn’t see the victim.

The police blamed the victim for crossing “mid block”. However it is unclear how the police could determine that the pedestrian was crossing mid-block while the driver testified that that the accident occurred as he was making a left turn at the intersection.

After the accident, the pedestrian was rushed to a nearby hospital but he didn’t survive his injuries.

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10 motorists and 7 pedestrians died in NYC traffic accidents in October. No fatalities were recorded among cyclists and vehicle passengers. Truck accidents reached a record high while bus accidents were unusually low for October. Motorcycle accidents started to decline compared to the summer months as the temperature drops and bikers keep their motorcycle in the garage.

The total number of monthly traffic deaths continues to decline despite a rise in the total number of monthly accidents in the city. Traffic injuries continue to rise as well.

Traffic Accidents Injuries and Deaths NYC October 2018
Over the last five years while Vision Zero initiatives focused mostly on making the streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, distracted driving has led to a significant increase in accidents injuries and fatalities.

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Negligent garbage truck company out of businessAfter two people were killed by Sanitation Salvage garbage trucks and ProPublica released an in depth look at the company’s dirty business (see previous blog the trash hauler came under intense scrutiny.

At the end of last month, Sanitation Salvage sent a letter to the Business Integrity Commission to announce that it had surrendered its license and was going out of business.

After years of exploiting workers and endangering New Yorkers, the company run by the ruthless and heavily politically connected Squitieri Brothers is finally going down. Street safety advocates, labor unions and elected officials are all celebrating the news.

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Brooklyn Fatal Construction AccidentA hard hat died in a forklift accident in New York City last month. 44 year old Over Paredes was working on the construction site of a six-story condo located  at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Marcy Avenue in Brooklyn when a piece of metal-framed wall fell on him.

The accident occurred on the rooftop of the building during a day of high wind.  The large piece of sheet metal was extremely heavy and was being hoisted by a manual forklift. During the lifting operation, the forklift that, according to a worker, was lighter than the piece of wall, was knocked down onto its side by a gust of wind and the huge piece of wall fell on Paredes.  The construction worker died at the scene of the accident despite all the efforts of the EMS to try to rescucitate him.

The crane operator had previously refused to hoist the piece because of the high wind

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hit and run location
3 pedestrians died in car accidents in New York this week-end.

Staten Island Pedestrian killed in Brooklyn

65 year old Losif Morgenshteyn was fatally struck by a hit and run driver as he was changing a flat tire on the driver side of his car. The accident occurred on Saturday night around 6:30 pm. on Shore Parkway near East 28th Street in Sheepshead Bay. According to CBS News, the man was hit by a white Toyota minivan with Pennsylvania plates. 3 people came out of the van and checked on the condition of the pedestrian before speeding away. The van was found empty about a mile away and the police are still looking for the driver. When the EMS arrived they gave the man CPR and then rushed him to the hospital. Unfortunately he couldn’t be saved and he was pronounced dead upon his arrival.