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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location of the deadly car accidentA man died and a woman was injured in a car crash in New York City last Friday night. According to the NY Daily News the driver of a white 2001 Nissan Sentra was driving East on Rockaway Boulevard around 10:30 pm. He was planning to make a left turn onto Guy R Brewer Boulevard. When he arrived at the intersection the left turn light was red and a tow truck operated by Onpoint Collision and Towing Services was in front of him. The tow truck driver told the News that the reckless driver went around his truck on the right and then proceeded to turn left to get onto Guy R Brewer Boulevard. In order to do so he had to cross several lanes of traffic. He was T-boned by a white BMW that slammed in the car’s door. The tow truck driver confirmed that the woman who was driving the BMW had the green light. He saw the entire accident including when the EMS arrived and pulled the driver out of his car. The emergency team tried to resuscitate him but according to the tow truck driver, the man seemed dead. He was transported to the hospital where his death was confirmed. The BMW driver was also taken to the hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Read more in the NY Daily News

Picture: Courtesy of Google Map

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Thankfully nobody was injured in a Manhattan gas explosion. An electrical malfunction in a Con Edison transformer caused a carbon monoxide leak in a building located on 2465 Broadway between 91st and 92nd Street in the Upper West Side. The leak started around 4:00 pm and was discovered when the alarm of the Equinox gym located in the building went on.  90 people including clients at Equinox and three other businesses as well as 15 tenants were swiftly evacuated before an explosion shattered the windows of the building. Witnesses said they saw a big orange flash followed by the explosion. Glass and debris flew across Broadway. People living in the area felt their apartments shake. Animals at next door Petco were all safe as well.

The firefighters thought the alarms had been triggered by a smoking transformer inside the Equinox Gym basement but then they detected high levels of carbon monoxide and found that a carbon monoxide leak from defective ConEd equipment under the sidewalk. The gas and electricity were shut off on the block. Yesterday morning the gas was still turned off as investigators were still figuring out what happened.

It was fortunate that everybody could be evacuated before the explosion occurred. Carbon monoxide gas leak are extremely dangerous and very easy to ignite.  Any spark caused by even a telephone ringing or a light switch being turned on can trigger an explosion.

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ThanksGivingWhile Thanksgiving is usually a day of joy,  many unexpected events can result in injuries during that day. In fact all around the country emergency rooms experience a spike in visits on Thanksgiving day. Here are a the most common injuries occurring on that day and a few tips to avoid them:

  • Knife injuries are among the most common injuries occurring during Thanksgiving holidays. Please be careful not only when you carve the turkey but also during all the food preparation.
  • Food poisoning is also extremely common on Thanksgiving day. If you are the one cooking the turkey, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh, of the wing and the thickest part of the breast.  The turkey is cooked when all these spots have a temperature of 165 degrees and above. Properly cooking the turkey at 165 degrees kills all the harmful germs that might be present in the animal. Keep in mind that the CDC announced early this month that there was a major and widespread outbreak of multidrug-resistant salmonella infections linked to raw turkey products and live turkeys. 164 cases in 35 states were reported at the beginning of this month including 63 hospitalizations and 1 death. 12 cases were reported in New York.
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Dragon's_breathDipping dessert items into liquid nitrogen right before consumption can cause severe injury and should be avoided. A trendy dessert called Dragon Breath, Heaven’s Breath or Nitro Puff that consists of a cereal snack that taste like fruit loops dipped into liquid nitrogen right before consumption is being sold at malls, fairs, food courts or ice cream parlors. When you eat the dessert your mouth smokes like a dragon which makes for some cool Instagram pictures. However liquid nitrogen even though it is not toxic can cause severe injuries if not handled proprely because of its extremely low temperature. It can be as cold as minus 320 degrees and if it is still present in the food when someone ingests it it can cause severe burns to tissues.  Not only fingers but the mouth or the throat and even the stomach can be burned. Last year a 14 year old had to be hospitalized after burning her thumb. In India a man who swallowed a cocktail with liquid Nitrogen too quickly ended up at the emergency room with a hole in his stomach.

Dangerous for people with asthma too

Additionally people may also experience problems with breathing especially those who suffer from asthma. In the video below a mother explained how her son, 20 minutes after ingesting a few dragon breath treats at a fair went into a full blown asthma crisis and had to transported to the hospital to be treated.

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NYC construction workers Failure to provide fall protection to workers  continues to be the most frequent violation found by OSHA inspectors while visiting construction sites or any other work site of other industries. From October 1st 20017 to September 20 2018, OSHA issued 7,270 violations to employers who failed to provide their employees with appropriate fall protection. Falls are also the number one cause of death on American construction sites. One of the most serious violators was Kasper Roofing & Construction in Florida. OSHA proposed a fine of $134,510 after the death of a roofer. Roofers for this company were working with no protection at all and without any safety training on fall hazards.

The second most common OSHA citation was related to hazard communication. Companies using toxic or dangerous chemicals and substances are required by law to proprely identify and label these products. They have to make sure that their employees know about the potential danger of these products by providing them with appropriate training on how to work with or near these products. At the beginning of this month an employee at a drilling company in Alabama died after flammable welding gas stored in an unventilated storage container exploded when he opened the door of the container. The employer, Legend Directional Services LLC, was cited by OSHA for failing to train employees on hazards associated with flammable chemicals. The company is facing a $28,455 fine.

Scaffold violations were the third most common violation found by OSHA inspectors. 3,336 companies were cited over the last year for unsafely using scaffolds. The highest proposed fine was $120,320 to Appleton roofing contractor Hector Hernandez. Hernandez employees were neither trained on fall hazards nor provided with fall protection equipment. The contractor also failed to install an extension ladder for safe egress  and failed to provide required ladder jack scaffold components.

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accident sceneA 30 year old pregnant woman died in a NYC crash and a teenage girl is in a coma with serious spine injury that may prevent her from walking again. On Saturday morning, 30 year old Jennifer Parisella, a farmer from Middeltown was on her way to a farmers market in the city when she rear ended a tractor-trailer on the Major Deegan Expressway near Brook Avenue around 7:00 am. The young woman who was five months into the pregnancy of her first child died at the scene of the accident.  Her two stepchildren, 14 year old Sky Mendoza and 12 year old Orlando Mendoza were also in the van. They were sitting on the back seat. A 28 year old man who was a relative of the family was in the front passenger seat. Sky Mendoza suffered critical brain and spine injury. She is still in a coma and she might never walk again. Orlando suffered a broken collarbone and the 28 year old man injured his leg.

The police are still investigating the reason of the crash. The 42 year old truck driver stayed at the scene of the accident. He wasn’t charged.

Read more in the New York Post 

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Dusk and Darness Accident PreventionThe NYPD announced last week that A NYC pedestrian died from his injuries the day after an accident that occurred in the Bronx on November 7th around 6:30 pm.  52 year old Alvaro Gutierrez was crossing Southern  Boulevard at Elsmere Place when he was struck by a minivan.  Gutierrez who was hit in the crosswalk, flew in the air and landed on the roadway. He was transported to the hospital where he died the following day. The minivan driver wasn’t charged.

Winter is the worst season for pedestrians

Statistics show that, in New York, after daylight saving time ends, pedestrian accidents increase dramatically, especially during evening hours. The months of November to March are the deadliest for New York pedestrians. To boost awareness about this situation and encourage drivers to drive safely the city has been deploying its ‘Dusk And Darkness’ Vision Zero Safety Initiative for the third consecutive year.

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private garbage truck involved in New york fatal bicycle accident43 people have been killed in private garbage truck accidents in New York City since 2010. Barreling down the streets of New York City  with little to no respect for road regulations and for their surroundings, trash haulers gone rogue have become death threats on wheels for pedestrians and cyclists.  Running red lights, driving in reverse on one-way streets, speeding, drinking behind the wheel, New York commercial garbage truck drivers are involved in three times mores accidents than their peers in Los Angeles, Seattle or San Francisco according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Drivers are complaining that they are pushed to cut corners by their bosses who are assigning them routes that are too long to finish in the assigned time but New Yorkers have had enough of their dangerous behaviors.  Many have documented their erratic and dangerous behaviors on social media.

One week crack down

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Gotham residential construction siteIn June 2018 two construction workers were seriously injured in a mini crane accident in New York because of the negligence of their supervisors. These supervisors were indicted last week for their reckless behavior. They face second degree assault and reckless endangerment.

The accident occurred on June 25th at a Harlem construction site located on East 126th Street near Lexington Avenue. Workers hired by Western Waterproofing were installing a facade for a building made of stainless steel and giant glass panels. To help them install the panels, 41 year old Timothy Braico, a senior branch manager, rented a mini crane that was installed on the fourth floor of the building. None of the workers in the team had proper training to use the crane and no one knew how to proprely set it up. After the crane was installed without an approved DOB engineering plan specifying crane use and tethering, the site supervisor, 39 year old Terrence Edwards, ordered an untrained iron-worker to operate the crane.  The crane maximum load was 880 pounds. As workers were hoisting a 1500-pound glass panel onto the facade of the building, the crane toppled and crashed to the ground.  39 year old Christopher Jackson, was ejected in the air and fell 3-story to the ground. He suffered traumatic brain injury that affected his capacity to talk and walk.  Another worker, 37 year old Jorge Delgado was struck in the back and suffered severe spinal injury that affected his mobility.

In New York, construction sites using mini cranes have to follow specific procedures in order to legally use them. A permit application that includes detailed plans as well as the proof that the contractor hired a certified operator and certified rigging crew must be submitted to the DOB in order to use a mini crane.

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OSHA logoTo better protect construction workers from dangerous crane accidents, OSHA recently released a final rule on crane operator certification requirements.  The new rule makes employers responsible for the training and evaluation of their crane operators. Employers are also responsible for documenting the successful completion of the evaluations. Crane operators need to be certified and licensed to work on a construction site and must receive ongoing training if they need to use new equipment.  While the previous 2010 rule on crane operators required operators to be certified on lifting capacity, the new rule indicates that operators can now be certified based on the crane’s type and capacity, or type only.

The final rule will become effective on December 9th 2018 however employers will have until February 7 2019 to comply with the evaluation and documentation requirements.

Read the OSHA press release