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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marijuanaTwo recent studies indicate that States that had legalized the recreational use of marijuana have seen a significant increase in car accidents compared to States that haven’t legalized marijuana for recreational use.  One of the studies was released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and  the other one by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). These two studies were presented last week at the Combating Alcohol- and Drug-Impaired Driving Summit, that was hosted by IIHS and HLDI.  The study presented by HLDI looked at collision claims per insured vehicle in the Sates of  Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington compared to the States of  Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming from January 2012 to 2017. Researchers found that the frequency of collision claims per insured vehicle rose a combined 6 percent by year in the States that started the retail sale of Marijuana compared to the States where Marijuana is still a controlled substance. The study presented by IIHS compared the change in crash rate in Colorado, Oregon and Washington with neighboring States that didn’t enact recreational marijuana laws and found a 5.2% increase in the rate of crashes in States that authorized the recreational use of Marijuana compared to the States that didn’t authorize it.

The numbers found by both teams of researchers are consistent with each other however because the police still have no proper tool to detect if a driver was under the effect of Marijuana when involved in an accident it is difficult to prove that the legalization of marijuana make roads less safe.

While alcohol tests after an accident are pretty reliable, there are still no available tools to test if a marijuana user was impaired by the drug at the time of the accident. Because THC remains in the body for a long period of time after the substance is  consumed, a positive THC test doesn’t imply that the driver was high behind the wheels.

 

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Foudation for Safety LearningTo prevent construction accidents in New York, every hard hat in the city is now required to get at least 40 hours of safety training.  Safety training as well as constantly promoting and encouraging safety on construction sites is an effective way to reduce injuries and deaths related to accidents. It is not only important that every worker be trained on how to safely work but also that foremen and lead workers promote safety practices and apply them on a day to day basis on their job-sites.

Dedicated safety training for lead construction workers

To be effective safety leaders, in addition to the basic safety training, lead workers can highly benefit from specific training such as The Foundations for Safety Learning (FSL).  The FSL is a 2.5- hour training module that is dedicated to train lead workers on construction sites. Developed by OSHA and the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) as well as construction workers and other experts, it was initially released by OSHA as a  a 30-hour elective module in January 2017. It has now been integrated in the training requirements of many small and large employers.

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NYC ambulance accidents3 people suffered personal injury in an ambulance accident in New York City. The accident occurred Tuesday morning around 7:30 a.m. on East Fordham Road at Elm Place. The FDNY ambulance careened into an optical store after it collided with a car. The ambulance was on its way to a call. Two FDNY workers who were in the ambulance as well as one of the car occupants were injured and rushed to the hospital. Thankfully there were no pedestrians on the sidewalk or in the store which was closed.

Ambulance accidents are unfortunately occurring too often in New York City. Despite having special exemption from stopping at red-lights and stop signs as well as from speed limits ambulance drivers still have to be mindful of pedestrians, cyclists and other motor vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists are especially vulnerable to being run down by speeding ambulances. When such accidents occur, it is not always easy for the victims or their family to get proper compensation for their injuries or the loss of a loved one because of what is known as the “emergency doctrine” pursuant to which emergency responders involved in accidents  on emergency calls can’t be held responsible unless they drove with reckless disregard for the safety of others.

Almost 100 ambulance accidents every month in NYC

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6 people suffered personal injury in a chain reaction crash that occurred on the Long Island  Expressway in Melville. The traffic started to slow down after a car caught fire near Exit 49. Two cars then collided causing a chain crash involving a oil tanker. Susan Buttler, a 45 year old East Meadow resident lost control of her minivan and skidded under an oil tanker. She was charged with DUI. Aftre she was treated for minor injuries in a nearby hospital she was taken to the Fourth Precinct where she spent the night before being arraigned at the First District Court in Central Islip. 5 other people were injured and transported to local hospitals to be treated.

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le5 BODY CAMERAA potentially defective lithium-Ion battery in Vievu-brand LE-5  body camera led the NYPD to pull almost 3,000 body cameras from use.

The decision was made after one of the cameras worn by a Staten Island police officer exploded into flames.  The officer who was assigned to a midnight shift  in the 121st Precinct on the northwestern shore of Staten Island suddenly noticed smoke coming out of his body camera. Thankfully he wasn’t injured in the accident. He just had the time to remove the camera and to drop it on the ground in the precinct before it exploded and caught fire. After the incident, all officers wearing the same model of camera were instructed to immediately remove them and bring them back to their commands. The NYPD had around 15,000 cameras in use and only the Vievu LE-5 is being recalled. The previous version Vievu LE-4 which is also used by some of the police officers is not recalled. Officers who were wearing the LE-5 model will temporally work without body cameras.

CONTROVERSIAL DECISION 

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In our previous blog we provided an overview of the cost of personal injury in the US based on various criteria mostly related to the patients. In part 2 we are going to look in depth at the cost of each particular type of injuries.

Unintentional injuries are by far the most common. More than 26 million people suffered unintentional injury in the US in 2013 according to the study “Incidence and costs of injuries to children and adults in the United States”. The total cost of these injuries almost reached $1.5 trillion.

Number-of-injuries-per-type
Cost of injury per type
Among the unintentional injuries, a third of them were falls. Every year more than 8 million people are visiting the emergency room after falling. More than 3 million are being treated because they were struck and approximately 2.5 million were motor vehicle occupants involved in a traffic accident. Another very common cause of unintentional injury is overexertion.

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What does an injury really cost, not only in terms of medical spending but also in terms of work loss and decreased quality of life? A recent study by researchers from Brown University and the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and published in the Journal of Injury Epidemiology provides an economic analysis of the “real cost” of all 31,038,072 hospital-treated injuries in the US in 2013. While most previous studies on injury cost focus mostly on the acute medical cost they don’t address the cost of the burden of injury.

The study found that one American out of 10 visited the hospital for a non-fatal injury during the year under study. Medical spending including hospital and home care, emergency transportation, medicines and physical therapy for all of them came to a total of $168 billion. Future lost work from permanent disability came to a total of $223 billion and quality of life loss came to a total of $1,46 trillion.

The study also provide an in-depth analysis of the cost of injury by age, household income, payer, location, injury mechanism, intent and severity.

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top 10 technology hazardsTo prevent medical malpractice, hospitals and other medical facilities have to constantly be aware of the new technological hazards that can be detrimental to patients. Every year the ECRI Institute compiles a list of the most hazardous technological issues that can hurt patients. Here are a summary of the 2019 Top 10 Health Technology Hazards.

  1. ECRI lists potential hackers attacks to medical networks the number one technological threat for the medical community. Hackers have been using remote access to infiltrate the network of healthcare organizations and to install ransomware or other malware to steal data, degrade or render inoperative devices or hijack computers for other malevolent purposes. Hackers look for organizations with weak cyber security therefore it is essential for healthcare organizations to make sure that they are up to date with all recommended cyber security practices.
  2. Dirty mattresses that are oozing body fluids from previous patients to new patients has become the biggest health concern of hospitals. Healthcare facility are facing major issues with mattress covers that are not proprely cleaned or that become weak and susceptible to break after being cleaned with inappropriate products and/or procedures.  The ECRI Institute recommends that suppliers provide clear guidelines on how to clean covers without compromising their integrity.
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Personal Injury Attorney Ben RubinowitzOur managing partner Ben Rubinowitz will be a faculty member of the  “Weekend with the Stars: The Power of Persuasion” seminar organized by the American Association for Justice and presented by the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. The seminar will take place at the Westin New York in Time Square on December 7th and December 8th 2018. This year the seminar will focus on modern or innovative trial advocacy techniques. Participants will learn:

  • To maximize their impact with storyboards
  • To build a successful foundation for a winning case
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Location of the deadly limo accident
After 20 people died in a limousine accident in Schoharies, NY, the first result of the investigation indicate that the limousine wasn’t supposed to be on the road because it had failed inspection and that the driver who blew the stop sign didn’t have the proper license to drive a stretch limo. Additionally he was also recently busted twice on drug charges.  The limousine belonged to Prestige Limousine, a shoddy company operating  out of a low budget hotel that has a history of failed inspections. Its shady owner, Shaheb Hussain,  became a federal informant after he was caught in a scheme to illegally obtain driver’s licenses in the Albany area. Yesterday, officials suspended Prestige Limousine operations and seized 3 vehicles.

Worried limo occupants sent texts of concern to relatives before the accident

The limousine was transporting 17 friends –  four sisters, two brothers and several young couples – on their way to a birthday party. They were supposed to be picked up by a party bus to go to a brewery in Cooperstown  but they were informed that the  bus broke down on its way to pick them up. Instead they were picked up by the shoddy stretch limousine.  Some of the people on  board texted relatives that they were worried about the vehicle conditions.