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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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Hard-Rock-Hotel-construction-accident-e1582228604154The crane accident that killed 4 people at a Google office project in Seattle and the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel project that resulted in 3 deaths were among the most horrendous construction accidents that occur last year in the US.  While these major tragedies were all over the news, crane accidents and partial building collapses occurred all over the country last year.  A partial collapse of a building in Cinicinnati, a crane collapse in Dallas. Most big cities in the US  had similar tragedies including New York. Last August one man died and five were injured in a building collapse (see previous blog). A crane company was temporarily banned from the city after two consecutive crane accidents including one resulting in the death of a construction worker (see previous blog).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 175 people are injured in crane accidents and 44 die on average every year in the US

Most crane accidents are caused by human errors. Many of them such as the one that occurred at the Google site in Seattle or the one that killed a worker in New York occur during the  assembling or the disassembling of the crane.  The assembly/dissassembly director is in charge of making sure that the manufacturer guidelines and all safety procedures are followed during this dangerous operation. While OSHA introduced new regulations last April, these regulations are mostly related to improving crane operator’s knowledge and training.

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skull-breaker-challenge-victimSeveral children and teenagers recently suffered serious personal injury after they were pranked by others in a new disturbing challenge on the popular app Tik Tok called “The skull breaker challenge”.  The prank requires two people to ask a third person to stand in line with them and take turns jumping. The person pranked is placed in the middle and when she or he jumps the two others kick their feet out from under making the person in the middle fall backward.  A 12 year old kid in Alabama ended up at the hospital with a broken wrist. Another 16 year old girl in Miami was also hurt in the same prank after she was told by other kids that they were shooting a video for a school project. A 13 year old  boy in New Jersey suffered a concussion followed by a seizure. His mother said that she arrived at the school 20 minutes after the accident and found her son unresponsive while the school was waiting for an ambulance.

SERIOUS INJURIES AND DEATH

Falling backward can not only result in serious injury but can also be deadly. Severe injuries of the neck and head can occur when falling backward. Bruises, hematoma, skull fracture, neck fracture and concussion are the most common injuries suffered in these type of accidents. Internal bleeding, loss of consciousness, paralysis and death can also occur in the worst cases.

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cell-phone-on-construction-siteCell phone usage on construction sites may increases the risk of accidents. While there are no specific rules when it comes to cellphone usage on a construction site, it is the employer’s responsibility to keep employees safe and to train them about cell phone usage while working on an active construction site.

Headphones are not OSHA approved ear protective devices

While OSHA requires construction workers to use ear protective devices when the noise on a site exceeeds permissible noise exposure limits, they are not talking about headphones or earbuds. While some manufacturers are advertising that their headphones are OSHA approved or OSHA compliant,  OSHA warned in a recent letter that these claims are misleading.  Listening to music when working on an active construction site covers environmental sounds and increases the risk for construction workers to be struck by hazards while performing their work.

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Booster-seatBooster seats are considered dangerous for children who weigh less than 40 pounds but the manufacturer of the “Big Kid” Booster seat doesn’t care. Despite several lawsuits settled with parents whose child suffered internal decapitation or traumatic brain injuries because the booster seat did not protect them adequately from side impact, the manufacturer continues to pretend its booster seat is safe for children over 30 pounds. The reason for doing so is purely motivated by profit and no regulation in the US is preventing the manufacturer to do so. In Canada where regulations are stricter the same booster seat is deemed safe for children over 40 pounds.

Evenflo executive put profit ahead of safety

A recent investigation by Propublica found that executives at Evenflo were asked several times by one of their safety engineers to stop selling their “Big Kid” booster seats to children who weighted less than 40 pounds. The engineer told executives that by raising the minimum weight to 40 pounds instead of 30 the company would align with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations and match Canadian regulations. His recommendations were vetoed by a marketing executive.

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New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer Jeffrey BloomOur partner Jeffrey Bloom will be speaking about Medical Malpractice at the “Bridging the Gap” Seminar organized by the New York State Bar Association on February 20.

This two-day program dedicated to young attorneys who just finished law school will help them “bridge the gap” between law school and the reality of practicing law in New York State. Participants will built a foundation in the practical skills, techniques, and procedures that are essential to the practice of law.

Jeffrey Bloom will be a member of the program faculty among 12 other lawyers coming from different types of law practices. He will cover the subject of Medical Malpractice. Since graduating from law school in 1979, Jeffrey became one of the most prominent Medical Malpractice Attorneys in New York. He has represented numerous clients who suffered catastrophic personal injury as the result of medical malpractice such as improper care resulting in brain damage and Erb’s palsy or failure to diagnose cancer. He was instrumental in the recent passing of the Lavern Law. He also 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.

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train-accident-prevention
Did you know that 95% of fatal train accidents were caused by vehicles at train crossings and pedestrians on tracks? Every 3 hours in the US someone is hit by a train. Most of these accidents are preventable.

According to preliminary Federal Rail Road Administration Statistics, 262 people died and 871 were injured in 2,296 collisions with trains in 2018 in the US. 2,217 collisions occurred at highway-rail grade crossings. Pedestrian rail trespassing resulted in 1015 causalities (fatalities and injuries).  California and Texas have the most accidents  for both highway-rail grade crossings and trespassing.  New York ranked number 4 of  all states with the most pedestrian trespassing causalities. 36 people died and 13 were injured while trespassing on New York railroads in 2018.

Tips for New York Pedestrians to stay safe near railroads

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Two years ago one of our clients, actress Ruthie Ann Miles and her five year old daughter were struck by a reckless driver as they were crossing the street in the crosswalk with the light in their favor. The daughter was killed and the actress who was pregnant at the time of the accident, later on lost the baby she was carrying. Another 1 year old child was also killed in the accident. The driver, Dorothy Burns, had a history of reckless driving. In the year preceding the accident she was caught 4 times speeding in school zone areas and 4 other times running a red light.

Despite the many Vision Zero Initiatives implemented since 2014, the number of people dying in traffic accidents increased again last year after 4 years of decline. Many accidents were caused by reckless driving.

In an effort to address this problem, the City Council is about to adopt a new program that targets reckless drivers. The reckless driving initiative is expected to start as a 3 years pilot. During that time any owner of a vehicle that is charged with 5 red light camera violations or 15 speed camera violations in a year will have to complete a safety course developed by the DOT. If a reckless driver refuses to attend the safety course his vehicle may be seized.

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IMG_3253-e1580916956170Two years ago, Harry Ramnauh was crushed to death by a glass panel at a Manhattan construction site. He was a security guard at the construction site of the $3 billion Luxury Central Park Tower which when completed will be the tallest residential building in the world. Reaching 112 floors and a height of 1,550 feet, it is also the most expensive development in New York City. Apartments are listed at up to $63 million with a total projected sellout of $4 billion. (see building under construction on the right side of the picture)

Contractor argues that “failure to safeguard the public” doesn’t apply because the victim was a worker

After the death of the security guard, The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) issued several citations to Lendlease, the general contractor for the construction of the residential tower.  Lendlease successfully fought most of the violations and recently filed another petition against the DOB and the Office of Administration Trials and Hearings  arguing that one of the citations, “failure to safeguard the public during construction”, doesn’t apply to the case because the victim was not a member of the public but a worker at the construction site. Lendlease also argues that the violation was issued based on an inspection that occurred 3 days after the accident and therefore it didn’t reflect the conditions at the time of the fatal construction accident.

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location of the pedestrian accident in NYCA pedestrian died after being rolled over by a car backing out of a driveway in NYC. The accident occurred at 30-23 69th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens around 6:15 pm on February 2nd. The driver of a Honda backed out of his driveway, struck a 57 year old man who was standing on the sidewalk and rolled over him.  The man was rushed to the hospital but he could not be saved. His identity was not released by the police. The victim is the first pedestrian to die in a car accident in February 2020. Last month 14 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in New York City: 5 in Brooklyn, 5 in Queens, 2 in the Bronx and 2 in Manhattan.

The driver whose identity wasn’t released either, stayed at the scene of the accident and was not charged.

Drivers must exercise due care while backing out of a driveway especially when it is dark outside

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trucks-kills-cyclist-tweetA cyclist was killed in a truck accident in NYC last week.

41 year old Pedro Lopez is the first cyclist to die in a traffic accident in New York City in 2020. He was killed by a reckless truck driver who was making an illegal U-turn at high speed on Vandervoort Avenue in Brooklyn. The accident occured on Thursday around 2:40 pm. The cyclist was rear ended by the truck. He was rushed to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Despite a video showing the recklessness of the truck driver, the police didn’t charge him