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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accident scene34 year old Jonatan Segura was drunk and speeding the night he killed one pedestrian and injured another in a car accident in New York last January. Segura plead guilty to manslaughter, two counts of assault, homicide, leaving the scene, and drunk driving as well as misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor leaving the scene of an accident. He is facing 4 to 12 years in prison.

On January 30th around 4:00 am, Segura was driving on 181st Street near Amsterdam Avenue when he lost control of his BMW sedan. He was drunk and he was speeding. He hit a pick-up truck and two pedestrians. One of them, Encarnation died form his injury at the hospital, the other one, a 46 year old woman was seriously injured.

Segura fled the scene of the accident on foot leaving behind him two seriously injured people and his car completely destroyed by the high speed impact.

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GM logoAfter the scandal of the defective ignition-switch that lead to the death of at least 124 people, GM is again suspected of mishandling a recall related to defective headlights.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced this week in a report that they are now investigating a 2015 GM recall of  429,000 vehicles with a possible defective Headlamp Driver Modul (HDM). The 2015 recall occurred after customers complained that the HDM was not operating proprely and that the low beam headlamps and daytime running lamps were failing to illuminate. The following vehicles were recalled: model year (MY) 2005-2009 Buick LaCrosse, 2006-2007 Chevrolet Trailblazer/GMC Envoy/Buick Rainier, 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer EXT/GMC Envoy XL, 2006-2008 Isuzu Ascender/ Saab 9-7X, and 2007 Pontiac Grand Prix vehicles.

The NHTSA now suspects that the scope of the GM recall was too limited. Since the recall occurred the Office of Defects Investigation (ODI) received 128 complaints related to issues with headlights of GM cars that were not included in the recall but built in the same year as the recalled models. Most vehicle owners complained that they simultaneously lost both headlights with no warning. The ODI also found out that vehicle owners whose cars were repaired after reporting that headlight failed to illuminate had the same component replaced as the component that was replaced in the recalled cars.

So far no crashes have been reported. In one of the reports the owner of a 2007 Chevrolet TrailBlazer said that both headlights failed as he was driving during a rainy night on a steep curvy highway. He explained that he was facing a truck in a curve and as he dimmed his headlights they both shut down and all he could hear was the horn of the truck trying to avoid his car. When he complained to GM, GM’s answer was:  ‘No recall. Your problem.’

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Amanda Miner killed in a NYC drunk driving accidentA 26 year old NYPD traffic agent was charged with drunk driving, vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide this morning when he appeared at his arraignment. Stefan Hoyt was drunk when he crashed his car into a divider of the Williamsburg bridge on March 16th around 3:15 am.   21 year old Amanda Miner who was sitting in the back seat (see previous blog ) was killed in the accident. While the speed limit is 35 mph, Hoyt was driving at a speed of 111 mph when he lost control of his vehicle. Videos from that night show Hoyt drinking at least 10 drinks including 8 shots of vodka. Hoyt’s bail was originally set at $100,000 but the judge reset it at $250,000.

Read more in the NY Daily News  

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Since 2011, 52 construction workers fell to their death in New York City. In its recently published First Quarter Report, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is highlighting how the surge in work permits over the last few years is correlated to the high number of fatal falls especially in Manhattan.

Fatal falls in NYC and residential permits issued over the last 6 years
New York City is not the only location affected by a rise in fall fatalities. All over the U.S. as the economy picked up, more construction workers lost their lives on the job. According to recent statistics, 985 construction workers died in 2015. Among them 367 fell to their death.

Ahead of  the 4th Annual National Stand-Down to prevent falls in the construction industry, the CPWR decided to focus its 2017 first quarter report solely on fatal and non fatal falls in the construction industry. The report illustrates how economic ups and downs since the beginning of 2000 affected employment in the construction industry.  It points out the higher volatility in employment for Hispanic workers As of last year Hispanic workers were representing 30% of the construction workers population while in 2003 when the economy was slower they were representing 2.1%. The number of fatalities in construction sites is also highly correlated to the pace of the economy with the number of fall fatalities usually rising faster during an economic recovery. Again Hispanic workers are the most at risk of dying in a fall on a construction site.

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investigation on workers injured at Case Farms on Pro Publica TwitterOsiel Lopez Perez suffered severe personal injury while working in extremely dangerous conditions at a Case Farms chicken plant. He lost his left leg while cleaning a machine. Perez is an illegal immigrant worker. He’s 17 year old. He left Guatemala after his mother was shot by a gang that also tried to kidnap his sisters. At the time of the accident, Perez had to sanitize a liver giblet chiller. To do so he was supposed to first climb on a ladder to turn off the water valve above the machine. Because there was no ladder available, his supervisor showed him how to climb onto the machine to reach the water valve. One day, as he was standing on the machine his foot slipped into the machine which automatically started. His whole left leg was ripped off by the machine.  For years OSHA inspectors have been warning the plant about the dangerous habits of workers climbing onto the machinery for cleaning purposes.  The accident was completely preventable, simply by providing employees with ladders.

One of the biggest suppliers of chicken for the entire country, Case Farm chicken plant has a long history of abusing vulnerable immigrant workers. According to a recent investigation by  Michael Grabell from ProPublica in collaboration with the New Yorker, Case Farms chicken plants are some of the most dangerous places to work in the U.S. The company was fined $2 million in 2015 for disregarding worker safety. Over the last 7 years the company was cited 240 times for workers safety violations.

Companies that are hiring immigrants workers can be fined for doing so and employers can be sent to jail according to an immigration law that was passed by Congress 30 years ago. However this law is rarely applied, allowing abusive employers to evade responsibilities. Under The Obama Presidency, Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agreed not to go after undocumented workers during labor disputes. Will this agreement remain now that Trump took over? Workers advocates worry that ICE may ditch it. If an employee is injured and complains, employers who have a history of abusing and neglecting illegal immigrant workers may then just call ICE to have them deported.

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A 3 year old girl died in a crash involving a garbage truck in the Bronx, NYC. Sophia Aguire was riding in a car driven by her 52 year old grandfather. She was sitting in the back seat with her 27 year old mom. Her grandmother was in the passenger seat. They were driving on Bruckner Boulevard near 142nd street when the accident happened. The road was stripped for resurfacing. The driver swerved to avoid an exposed  manhole cover and got into the path of a garbage truck in the adjacent lane.  The truck hit the car, propelling it into a concrete pillar of the elevated highway just above the road. (see picture below).

The car was completely mangled. The firefighters had to cut the doors to get the victims out of it. All passengers were transported to the hospital. 3 year old Sophia died an hour later. The 3 other family members who were in the car with her only suffered minor injury.

The garbage truck driver wasn’t injured. He stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged.

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Rubinowitz-Ben-B_12d7428b-27a7-4195-bebc-7788dce430881Our managing partner, Ben Rubinowitz, will be lecturing at the Nassau County Bar Association on Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 5:30pm.   The topic will be Direct and Cross Examination in a Medical Malpractice Case. Ben will provide tips and techniques for examining the Target Defendant Doctor, strategies for questioning the Plaintiff’s Expert as well as the Defendant’s Expert. Ben will also suggest  methods of setting up successful arguments for Summation through strategic direct and cross examination.  Examples from real cases will be used throughout the presentation.

Click here for more info or to register

 

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mass-for-construction-workers11 New York construction workers died on the job over the last 12 months. 9 of them were non unionized and two of them were unionized. These fallen hard hats were honored yesterday in St. Patrick’s Cathedral by thousands of construction workers. The mass is an annual tradition in New York. Thousands of construction workers most of them coming straight from work in their dusty outfits filled the cathedral. 15 different trade unions were present. Rev Brian Jordan, chaplain for the Building and Construction Trade Council of Greater New York, presided at the the mass. Behind him were 11 empty chairs each with a white hard hat and a rose.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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Every year in the US approximately 10,000 people die in car accidents caused by drunk drivers.  In an effort to prevent these types of accidents, states have been introducing Ignition Interlock Laws.  The ignition interlock is a device that is connected to the ignition of a car. When a driver wants to start a car with this type of device he has to breath in the ignition interlock. If alcohol is detected and is above the legal BAC limit for the state, the car doesn’t start. All states now have ignition interlock laws but some are more permissive than others. Globally there are 3 types of laws. “Permissive” laws are at the discretion of the judge or other sentencing authority. “Partial Laws” apply only to a certain type of offenders for example only repeat DUI offenders. Mandatory Laws apply to all drivers convicted of DUI. At the beginning of last year, 26 states had mandatory laws, 22 had partial laws and 2 had permissive laws.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that states with mandatory ignition interlock laws had a 7% decline in fatal crashes related to DUI.  The study was conducted by Emma E. McGinty, PhD, MS; Gregory Tung, PhD, MPH,; Juliana Shulman-Laniel, MPH; Rose Hardy, MPH; Lainie Rutkow, JD, PhD, MPH; Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, MPH; and Jon S. Vernick, JD, MPH all from  Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Colorado School of Public Health.

The researches analyzed crash data  from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) over a 32 year period. They compared the number of alcohol related fatal crashes before and after the ignition interlock laws were adopted by the various states. The study demonstrates that mandatory ignition laws are much more effective than the permissive or partial laws at preventing drunk driving fatal accidents.

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old woman using cell phone behind the wheelDistracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents in New York City  and in the US.  While teenagers and young drivers are often perceived as the most susceptible to use their cell phone while driving, a new study indicates that seniors are indeed as bad or even worst than the kids.

While previous statistics indicate that around 50% of young drivers recognize that they are talking on the phone while driving, a new study found out that nearly 60% of seniors say they are doing exactly the same.  Conducted by a group of researchers from the Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety (TREDS) program at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, the study looked at the driving habits of 397 Southern Californians age 65 and older. Among the 82% of them who said they  owned a cell phone, 60% said they spoke on the phone while behind the wheel.

These statistics are extremely alarming as when people get older their driving can be reduced by additional factor such as a medical condition or medication use. Alertness and mental processing also often decrease as people are getting older.