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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.
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nyc-car-crash-tweetA few days ago a cyclist tweeted a disturbing picture of a car crash on the Williamsburg bridge.  We don’t know if anybody was hurt in the accident but it definitely looked like the driver lost control of the vehicle because he was driving too fast.
Jacob Robert is among many New Yorkers who have been complaining on social media that they witnessed cars speeding on empty roads, considering them like freeways.

Speed cameras recorded the same number of  tickets than in January despite the decline in traffic

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https://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneysblog.com/files/2020/03/Bike-Map-Press-Board-Brooklyn-for-Jan.-29.-2020.jpgbicycle accident injuries Brooklyn NYC March 2020Out of the 8o cyclists injured in New York City last week, 38 were injured while riding their bicycle in Brooklyn. That is almost half of the injuries recorded.

Last October in Brooklyn, while inaugurating 1000 miles of protected bike lanes in NYC, Mayor de Blasio said “Vision Zero means making sure people on bikes in every neighborhood feel safe—whether they’re in Boerum Hill, Bath Beach or Bushwick,”.

Sadly the reality is much different.  A quick look at the maps on the left is enough to show that protected bike lanes are dramatically missing in the south part of Brooklyn where 22 of the 80 bicycle accidents occurred. How could Bath Beach cyclists feel safe on their bike while running errands in their neighborhood when the only existing bike lane is the one by the water next to the Belt Parkway?

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roofers are the most at risk of fallingTwo weeks ago a 45 year old construction worker  died after he fell from a roof in Troy, NY. The worker sustained serious injury and was pronounced dead upon his arrival to the hospital. (read more here)

Roofer is one of the most dangerous job in the US

Roofers are the construction workers that are the most at risk of dying in a fall accident.  According to previous statistics between  35 and 40 roofers out of 100,000 die every year in fall accidents. This is 10 times the rate of fatality of the construction industry globally. 75% of roofing fatalities are caused by falls.  Falls are often deadly but when they are not, injuries can be devastating and sometimes result in lifelong disabilities. Traumatic Brain injury is one of the most common injury sustain by roofers in fall accidents. Broken bone injuries can also occur depending on how the worker lands. Broken spine, broken neck, arms, and ribs are the most common as well as broken knees, ankles and feet.

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bicyle accident injuries during Corona Virus80 people were injured in bicycle accidents in New York City between March 9th and March 15th compared to 56 during the same week last year.  This 42.9% increase occurred as more and more New Yorkers make the decision to ride a bike instead of taking the subway during the COVID-19 crisis.

Distracting driving is the number one cause of bicycle accident injuries in New York City

Unfortunately despite significant safety improvements implemented by the Vision Zero program, riding a bike in the city is still dangerous especially for newbies. Among the 80 bicycle accident injuries reported by the NYPD, 38 occurred in Brooklyn, 19 in Manhattan,  11 in the Bronx, 11 in Queens and 1 in Staten Island. Distracted driving and failure to yield were the most common causes of injuries with 33 accidents caused by distracted drivers and 15 caused by  failures to yield.

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package-delivery-1243499_640Defectives products are being sold on Amazon by third party vendors and the current Amazon policy is to decline any responsibility for defective merchandise sold by these vendors. Defective products sold on Amazon have lead to serious injuries and deaths.  A man who bought a motorcycle helmet that was out of compliance with federal safety standards died after the helmet came off in an accident.  Amazon settled the case for $5,000 and refused to accept any responsibility.

In another case, a third party seller sold a defective hover board to a family in Nashville. The defective hover board caught fire and the house burned down while two children jumped out of the window to escape death. In court papers it was proven that Amazon knew that the product was defective but didn’t prevent the third party  vendor from selling it. An appeals court ruled that under state product liability law Amazon was not the seller but allowed the plaintiff’s claim of negligence against Amazon to go to trial.

Recent decision indicates Amazon could be held liable for defective products sold by third party vendors

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11 construction workers died and 586 were injured on the job in New York City last year according to statistics from the NYC Department of Buildings.  Half of the fatalities occurred in Manhattan, 2 in Brooklyn, 2 in Queens and one in the Bronx. No fatalities were reported in Staten Island.  12 construction workers died yearly during the 4 previous years. When looking at these numbers it is important to keep in mind that the NYC Department of Buildings has very narrow criteria to count construction fatalities in the city and an estimated one third of the construction deaths recorded by OSHA in New York City dot not appear in the DOT stats.

Construction accident fatalities NYC 2019
The number of workers injured in construction accidents in New York City last year declined compared to the 3 previous years but was higher than in 2015. 586 construction workers sustained injuries on construction sites in the city last year compared to 761 in 2018, 666 in 2017, 599 in 2016 and 472 in 2015 according to the DOT statistics. Most accidents occurred on Manhattan construction sites followed by Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. The monthly number of hard hats injured on the job reached a peak in August at 62 and were above 50 during the warm season in May, June, July and September. During all other months of 2019 the number of injuries recorded on NYC construction sites in 2019 was below 50. This is quite an improvement compared to the year before during which injuries almost reached 100 in May and were above 50 every month except for November and December.

onstruction accident injuries in 2019 in New York
Manhattan Construction accident deaths and injuries are still on a rising trend despite a decline in both deaths and injuries last year.  4 construction workers died in Manhattan during the 3 month period of April, May and June and 2 others in October. July and August had the highest number of injuries with 38 workers injured in July and 34 in August.

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accident sceneTraffic fatalities in New York City were up again last year after five years of decline (see previous blog).  A recent article in the New York Times takes an in-depth look at the NYC motor vehicle accident crashes to find out if it was possible to identify specific patterns in the accidents that lead to injuries and deaths. The findings show that despite the common perception that pedestrians are not careful enough while crossing the street and that cyclists ride like dare-devils, most pedestrian and bicyclist deaths were caused by distracted driving or failure to yield. Pedestrian and cyclist errors were only cited in 5% of the fatalities.

When a driver fatally hits a pedestrian or a cyclist in New York, there is a good chance that he or she will not face serious consequences as long as the driver is not drunk and stays at the scene of the accident. Last year 28 cyclists died after being struck by vehicles but only 4 drivers were arrested . 8 others received a summons. The police often blame the victim.  Last year, Susan Moses, a 63 year old woman was killed by a Lyft driver on a busy street with no bike lane. In their report, the police blame Ms Moses for moving across the road to turn left and not wearing a helmet. They did not charge the driver despite camera footage showing the Lyft driver recklessly crossing the double line in the middle of Kings Highway to try to pass the cyclist as she was trying to turn.  Later on in a very rare move, a judge from the Department of Motor Vehicle reviewed the footage and revoked the driver’s license. The judge said that she didn’t agree with the police statement and that the driver was responsible for the accident. Previous to working for Lyft, The driver who killed Ms Mos used to work for Uber but he accumulated so many complaints from passengers that Uber removed him from the App in 2018.

Some locations such as Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Third Avenue and Southern Brooklyn are among the most dangerous areas for cyclists to ride. Brooklyn has the most cyclist deaths among all New York City boroughs. Other locations such as 125th Street and Chelsea in Manhattan as well as the South area of Prospect Park have a high rate of pedestrian accidents.   A significant part of the accidents are caused by trucks and large vehicles such as SUVs.

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accident sceneA pedestrian was killed  by a car and a cyclist was seriously injured after being struck by a van in New York City last week. Both accidents were caused by reckless drivers.

A man walking his dog in Bay Ridge died after he was struck by a speeding 19 year old driver. 66 year old Frank Decolvenaere was crossing in the crosswalk at the intersection of Fourth Ave and 101 Street around 7:00 pm on Thursday when he was struck by a speeding Mercedez Benz 350. Since 2019, the car had 4 school speeding violations, 4 parking tickets and an expired inspection sticker. Frank was found lying in the crosswalk covered in blood. His dog ran 10 blocks home to alert his wife.  (Read more in Street Blog)

Earlier during the week, on Tuesday, a 25 year old driver backing her car out of a driveway hit a 57 year old pedestrian. The accident occurred at a private driveway locate at 30-23 69th Street in Elmhurst, Queens. The man was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The woman stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged (Read more in QNS)

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Jeff-Bloom2Congratulations to our partner Jeffrey Bloom for being listed as the 19th most politically powerful lawyer in New York in the 2020 Law Power 100. Jeffrey serves as the Co-Chair of the Medical Malpractice Committee and LAWPAC of New York (the Trial Lawyers’ political action committee) for the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.  Gov. Andrew Cuomo described the trial lawyers as “the single most powerful political force in Albany”.

Jeff has been with our firm since he graduated from law school in 1979.  He is recognized as one of the best personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys in New York and has helped his clients successfully achieve numerous multi-million dollar recoveries.  Among his notable cases, he served as lead counsel representing the Estate of Joan Rivers in a medical malpractice action arising from her death following surgery at an ambulatory surgical center. Jeff also specializes in cases of  cancer patients  who have been misdiagnosed. He was instrumental in the 2018 enactment of“Lavern’s Law,” which, for the first time in New York, mandated that the statute of limitations in cases on behalf of cancer patients and their families begins to run when the patient reasonably discovers that he/she has been the victim of malpractice.

A 2020 Law Power 100 Reception will take place tomorrow at The Ainsworth Chelsea in Manhattan.

 

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Construction-workers-injuries-preventionSafety on construction sites is not only about preventing accidents but also about keeping construction workers healthy and preventing injuries.

Because of the nature of the tasks they perform on a daily basis, construction workers are at a high risk of developing work-related muskuloskeletal disorders (WMSDs) also known as soft tissues injuries.

Keeping  a worker free from injuries is a win win situation for both the employer and the worker