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.
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construction accident locationIt’s a miracle nobody was injured in a construction accident that occurred yesterday around noon on 58th street near Columbus Circle. Construction workers were moving material in an exterior elevator when it got jammed on the 17th floor. A large and heavy metallic ramp that connected the elevator to the building fell busy 58th street, prompting pedestrians to run for cover. The elevator contained a crate packed with 2 tons of glass window panels.

After the metallic ramp gave way, the crate was partially in the elevator and partially dangling outside creating a major danger  for cars and pedestrians below. The street had to be closed for several hours until the FDNY could figure out how to safely remove the heavy load of glass from its unsafe location.  The construction site is located at 217 W57th Street. It is the site of the Central Park Tower a super tall building being developed by Extell. This project is expected to be the largest sellout ever in City history with 20 of the condos priced over 60 million per unit.

Read more in DNA Info

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bicycle accident location 5 people died in bicycle accidents in New York City over the last 4 weeks.  The most recent accident occurred two days ago in Brooklyn. A 47-year-old man was riding his bike on Rochester Avenue when he was hit by a SUV at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue. The driver of the SUV was a 19-year-old woman. She wasn’t charged.

According to  Brad Aaron from NYC Streetblog, the police officer on the scene blamed the victim and told the media that the bicyclist ran a red light. However according to Brad Aaron, the investigation is ongoing and the officer’s statement was probably negative speculation. Unfortunately NYPD officers present at the scene of bicycle accidents have a bad habit of blaming the victims and to protect the drivers (see also previous blog).

Atlantic Avenue is a very dangerous artery and the DOT is planning to redesign the avenue. However the DOT has no no plans to change this particular intersection. Maybe they will change their mind after this accident.

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city-seal-prThere were 93 traffic fatalities in New York City for the first 6 months of 2017. This is the first time since traffic accident data began being recorded in the City that this number went below 100. 203 people died in motor vehicle accidents in NYC for the full fiscal year that ended on June 30.

These numbers were announced a few days ago by Mayor Bill de Blasio. “No loss of life on our streets is acceptable, but under Vision Zero, we have seen continued and consistent progress, with traffic fatalities on the decline for three-and-a-half-years, strongly countering national trends,” said Mayor de Blasio.

Since 2014, the city has been taking multiple measures such as street redesign and traffic enforcement to try to make the streets safer for all New Yorkers. Pedestrians, especially children and seniors are the most at risk of being fatally struck by a car. Among the 93 people who died in traffic accidents, 47 of them were pedestrians. Respectively 63, 54 and 55 and  of them died during the same period of 2016, 2015 and 2014.

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“ Lissy McMahon’s sister, the executrix of her Estate made this video to express her appreciation for the NY Legislature passing Laverne’s Law. Our partner, New York Medical Malpractice Attorney Jeffrey Bloom has been relentlessly pushing for Lavern’s Law to pass. He is the co-chair of the Medical Malpractice Committee of the New York State Trial lawyers Association and co-chair of LawPAC of New York-the political action committee of the Trial Lawyers.  Recently, the New York State Legislature passed Lavern’s Law.  Jeff represented Lissy McMahon, a single mother who discovered that doctors misdiagnosed her cancer after the statute of limitations had passed.  Jeff and Lissy fought together to help pass Lavern’s Law. Unfortunately, Lissy passed away before the law was passed leaving behind her 4 year old son Jack.  Jeff now represents her estate.

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11 people died in auto accidents in New York City last May compared to 20 in April and 18 for the same month a year ago. This is a the lowest number of traffic deaths recorded since March 2016 where the number was also 11. This record low number of auto accident deaths occurred despite traffic accidents reaching 20,689 during the same month. This is the highest number of monthly motor vehicle accidents ever recorded in the city. The month before there were 17,585 motor vehicle accidents and 19,911 in May last year.

Traffic accidents in the city have been on a rising trend.  However it is only the second time that this number is above 20,000. Before that, the monthly number of accidents only went above 20,000 once in October 2015. (Click on graphs for full size)

Auto Accidents NYC Monthly Graph
While the number of traffic accidents has been increasing steadily, the number of deaths related to theses accidents have been declining over the last 4 years. This decline may be explained by the various street safety initiatives that have been launched under the umbrella of the Vision Zero Program to reduce traffic deaths in the city.

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9 cyclists died in bicycle accidents in New York City during the first 6 months of 2017 according to recent articles by Aidan Gardiner in DNA Info. During the same period of time last year 12 bicyclists died in New York City and respectively 5, 10 and 7 in 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  Indeed despite the launch of Vision Zero  in 2014 and after a drop in 2015, the number of bicycle accident fatalities was higher most of the time  than what it was in 2013 before Vision Zero was launched.  The main reason why the number of  cyclists fatalities remain high is because the number of people using bikes in New York City has been exploding over the last few years. According to data from the NYC DOT (see graph below), the number of people commuting to their work by bike has grown by 80% between 2010 and 2015, faster than in any American city.

bicycling statistics NYC
A better way to find out if the streets are safer for New York City bicyclists is to compare the ratio of cyclists deaths to the number of commuters for example. In 2013 this ratio was 10/37589 = 0.026%, in 2014 it was 5/41,789=0.011% and in 2015 10/44,976=0.022%. This ratio indicates that streets were safer in 2014 and 2015 than they were in 2013. However the ratio also showed that when Vision Zero was launched in 2014  street safety for bicyclists increased significantly but then dissipated after the launch. The data shows that street safety for bicyclists must be an everyday focus at all levels of the Vision Zero program.

The NYC DOT also calculates the New York City Cycling Risk. This indicator compares the Bicyclists Severe Injuries and Fatalities (KSI) to the estimated million cycling trips taken in New York City every year. According to the most recent report of the DOT, the bicycling risk has been constantly decreasing since 2000 and was at its lowest in 2014 (see graph below).

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tow-truck-accident-location A pedestrian died in a tow truck accident in New York City last Friday. 70 year old Donna Hahl of Valley Stream was crossing Jamaica Ave when a tow truck driver making a turn from 217th Street onto Jamaica Ave struck her. The woman had the green light and was in the cross walk. The tow truck driver also had the green light but as he was making a left turn he not only had to yield to traffic coming in the opposite lane but also to pedestrians crossing at the same time. The tow truck driver identified as 29 year old Mandip Singh from Queens remained at the scene of the accident. When the EMS arrived they found the pedestrian lying on the street unconscious and with body trauma. They transported her to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.  The driver was arrested for failure to exercise due care and failure to yield to a pedestrian ( Read more in the Gothamist).

Our New York Truck Accident Lawyers team handled a very similar case a few years ago. The victim, a New York physician was biking on the New York Greenway by the Hudson River when a NYPD tow truck crashed into him. The driver didn’t exercise due care and turned onto Greenway without yielding to the bicyclist.  The impact was so strong that the bicyclist was propelled into the air and fell onto another truck. His head hit the hood. He was transported to the hospital with critical head trauma. He died from his injuries a few days later. The driver wasn’t charged despite not yielding at the intersection. The physician was an avid bicyclist and a marathon runner. He would do house calls on his bike but that night he was just enjoying a pleasant ride by the river with his wife. Our attorneys were able to recover $5 million for his widow.

Picture: location of the tow truck accident courtesy of Google Map

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diseases associated to nanoparticle exposureConstruction workers who are using spray or who are power sanding wood sealant are inhaling zinc nano particles that may have negative consequences on their health. To avoid long-term injuries and illnesses a recent study found that the use of a local exhaust ventilation reduces exposure to nano particles by 92%.  A local exhaust ventilation also reduces the exposure to dust by 80%.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.  The authors of the study wanted to understand if zinc oxide nano particles contained in a wood sealant were detrimental to construction workers health while spraying the sealant or when sanding it.  They conducted various tests during which a worker executed the tasks of spraying the sealant and sanding it in an environmentally controlled chamber. Various filters were installed to collect particles. Researchers also used instruments allowing them to count  real-time particle levels. They found that globally the level of nano particles was high for both activities and that a local exhaust ventilation was effective in reducing nano particles by 92%.

Researchers also wanted to know if many unbound nano particles of zinc oxide  were released during the same operation. They used electron microscopy to analyze the collected samples. They found that most nano-sized ZnO particles were contained within or on the surface of larger airborne particles. More studies are necessary to understand which level of nanoscale ZnO is detrimental to construction workers health.

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4 workers suffered minor injuries after being stuck in an elevator 200 feet below the Brooklyn Con Ed Plant. 3 of them were contractors and one of them was a Con Ed employee. Emergency responders received a call around 7:40 am this morning about workers being stuck in an underground elevator at the Hudson Avenue generating station in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn. The employees were 220 feet below ground when the elevator stopped abruptly. It took several hours for the FDNY to get down the shaft and rescue each man one after the other. Each worker was put in a harness and then pulled up the shaft by the firefighters.  All of them suffered minor injuries and were taken to the hospital to be treated.

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accident sceneA man died in a crash in Manhattan last Friday night. The 29-year-old driver of a 2013 Nissan Altima was speeding on the West drive of Central Park when he lost control of his vehicle. He jumped the curve and after crossing a grassy area he crashed into an oak tree 300 feet from the roadway. He was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The speed limit inside Central Park is 25 mph but according to witnesses the car was probably going at a speed of 60 to 70 mph. The accident occurred on Friday night around 11:30 pm. According to Park Drive Regulations, cars are only allowed on the West Drive weekdays between 8:00 am and 10:00 am.  It is not clear why the man was driving on the West Drive of the Park at this time.