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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New-York-Slip-and-Fall1Every day 223 older adults visit the emergency room after being injured in a fall in NY State, 140 are hospitalized and 2 die. Fall is the leading cause of unintentional injuries and deaths among older New Yorkers and among older people in the US as well. In the US every 19 minutes an older person dies from injuries related to a fall.

For people over 65 year old, falls often have serious consequences that can affect their global well being, their mobility, their independence and their mental health. 60% of the older New Yorkers who are hospitalized after a fall end up in a nursing home or a rehabilitation center. 11% of them suffer traumatic brain injury and 27% of them suffer from hip fractures.  In most cases falls occur at home. 60% of older adults hospitalized for a fall in New York fell in their own home.

Obviously as people get older, they loose some of their strength,  they sometimes have physical disabilities, their vision is decreasing and they take more medication which can lead to drowsiness. All these factors increase the risk of fall.

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Second-Avenue-and-BordenA cyclist was fatally struck by a car in NYC on Thursday. The victim, identified as 53 year old Robert Spencer, is the sixth person to die in a bicycle accident in New York City since the beginning of the year. Spencer was riding his bicycle on Borden Avenue on Thursday morning a little bit before 8:00 am when he was struck by a car traveling on Second Street in Queens. The driver, a 51 year old man stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged.The victim was rushed to the hospital but he couldn’t be saved.

The area where the accident occurred used to be industrial but recent developments are quickly transforming the neighborhood into a more residential area. While there is a protected bike lane on Second Street, Borden offers no protection for cyclists.  According to residents, speeding double parking and failing to yield to pedestrians is common on Borden. The shareholders of the Murano, a residential building located a block away from the accident have already written a letter to the city and to their Council Member Jimmy Van Bramer to ask for a two-way protected bike-lane on Borden as well as other traffic calming measures. Their effort was supported by Van Bramer who wrote directly to the DOT on March 4th to support the residents’request for a bike lane and other traffic calming measures. The residents of the Murano also tried to lobby their local community board for protected bike lanes along Borden Avenue, but the community board refused to consider their request. (read more in Street blog)

Bike lane delays are not about the money but about the community

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Defective Boeing 737 Max groundedThe second fatal crash of a Boeing 737  MAX last Sunday in Ethiopia has led to a worldwide decision by aviation authorities to ground all Boeing 737 MAX. The US was the last of 42 other countries to make this decision.  157 people lost their lives in Sunday’s crash and 189 died in October in Indonesia in a very similar airplane crash.

According to recent investigations both crashes occurred  in a very similar manner. A new flight control system for which pilots weren’t proprely trained may have caused both accidents according to preliminary investigations. According to an article in the New York Times, after the first accidents, the pilots union complained that Boeing didn’t inform pilots that in some cases  the new flight control system could automatically push the nose of the plane down. Experts believe this change may have played a role in both accidents.

PILOTS LOOSING THE BATTLE AGAINST THE NEW FLIGHT CONTROL SYSTEM

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Thankfully nobody was injured by debris that fell from the elevated line tracks in Queens, NYC, last week. Last Wednesday, a hunk of rusty metal fell on Fernando Marin’s car, cracking the windshield. The car was parked on Roosevelt Ave below the elevated tracks. The owner, Fernando Martin told the NY Daily News that it was really scary and that the metal could have hit his head. He felt lucky to be alive.

Almost two weeks before the incident, a Uber driver also had a terrifying experience just two blocks away. A wooden plank from the elevated train platform flew into his car. The driver wasn’t injured but he was in shock. The wooden debris came from an old supply platform that was installed under the tracks years ago. MTA workers were seen dismantling the rest of the rotted wood beams a few days later.

On Monday the MTA also announced that the line 7 elevated tracks were safe and that it was perfectly safe to stand or drive under them. They also indicated that a truck hit the track structure recently in the areas of the falling debris and that this accident may have caused the two incidents but no root cause has been identified.

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accident sceneThe driver who fatally struck an 85 year old woman in Brooklyn, NYC, last Wednesday had previously received 10 tickets for speeding in a school zone and two for running red lights. The police haven’t filed any charges against the driver. The daughter is furious and wants the driver charged. She believes that a bill such as the “Reckless Driver Accountability Act” proposed by Brooklyn Councilman Brad Lander would help stop reckless driving in New York and could have prevented the death of her mother. The bill was proposed last year by Councilman Brad Lander after a reckless driver killed Abigail Blumenstein and Joshua Lew in Park Slope. Stella Clinton was backed over by the reckless driver as she was walking home from her Brooklyn parish church after an Ash Wednesday service. The accident occurred on Avenue S near Brown Street, in Marine Park, Brooklyn.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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Kigs County Hospital has the highest number of wrongful death claims468 people died of medical malpractice in NYC’s public hospitals in the past 5 years according to a recent article in the New York Post.  Among all 11 HHC hospitals, Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn had the worst record. 91 claims of wrongful death related to medical malpractice were filed against the Brooklyn hospital between the beginning of 2014 and the end of 2018. Bellevue, a much larger city hospital located in Manhattan came second with 54 wrongful death claims filed against it during the same period.

The Post analysed City Comptroller data obtained through a Freedom of Information request and found that the city paid $34 million to 56 families in 2014. Among the cases closed, the Post found out that  some patients died in horrific conditions from gross medical malpractice committed by these hospitals. Among the most shocking were:

  • The wrongful death of a woman who died from organ failure after doctors at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn ignored her tuberculosis diagnosis and botched her treatment. Her family was awarded  $3.2 million, one of the largest amounts paid by HHC to the 56 families.
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boy injuredA third of children injuries occur at home. While suffocation is the number one cause of death for toddlers, older children also are at risk of suffering unintentional injuries that can be deadly.  Because children are spending most of their time at home, it is important for parents to understand how to proprely childproof their home. The most common and dangerous accidents leading to children injuries  in the house are drownings, burns, poisonings and falls. Therefore while childproofing their home, parents should identify the high-risk zones:

Any water area such as bathtub, jacuzzi, pools but also toilets, sinks and other receptacles that can contain water such as buckets should be protected. While infants are the most at risk to sink in their bath, young children have the highest risk of drowning in pools. Drowning often leads to death. Children who survive a drowning often suffer brain injuries. Parents should be aware that children drowning can happen quickly, silently and without splashing even in very small amounts of water. Adult supervision should be constant when children are taking a bath or playing with water. Potentially dangerous areas need to be protected as young children are attracted by water but are not conscious of the inherent risk.  Additionally parents should be aware that diapers can also be a cause of danger near water as they can quickly fill up with water, increasing the risk of drowning.

Areas with heat or flame such as kitchen, fireplace or BBQ can result in dangerous burn injuries if children are left alone near them. Children should not only never be left unattended in a room when heating items are in use but parents should also make sure to block access to the stove, the fireplace, the radiators or the space heaters. Hot spills can also lead to burns. Parents should never handle hot liquid while holding a child or near a child. While cooking, the handles of the pots should be turned toward the rear of the stove and its preferable to use back-burners whenever possible. Any hot device should be kept out of reach of children and so should electrical cords. Electrical outlets should be covered. The use of a cold mist humidifier is also a wiser choice to protect children from burns. Other common sources of children burns are  bath water and  food.  Parents or care givers should always put their own hand in the bath to make sure the temperature is ok and test food first before giving it to your child.

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memorial for NYC victim of bike accidentA 25 year old bicyclist was fatally struck by a hit and run truck driver in NYC.  Aurilla  Lawrence was fatally hit by a gas tanker truck near the intersection of Broadway and Rodney Street in Williamsburg last Thursday night around 11:30 pm. The driver fled the scene of the accident and so far is still at large. Lawrence was a beloved member of the bike messengers community who  nicknamed her  “Aurilla Gorilla”.

Last Sunday around 200 bike messengers and street safety advocates organized a memorial ride on the streets of New York to commemorate the victim. Bicyclists met at Lenox Avenue in Harlem and rode their bikes South on Fifth Avenue toward Union Square. The Union Square Park is an area where Lawrence used to hang with fellow bike messengers in between deliveries. As a tribute to her, the bike-a-thon made a stop at the park and  participants raised their bikes to her memory.

Then the 200 cyclists continued their way toward Brooklyn. They crossed the Williamsburg bridge to ultimately arrive at the location of the accident where a ghost bike and a makeshift memorial were installed.  The participants gathered around the memorial and paid tribute to their beloved co-worker.

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19 people died in 167,686 NYC motor vehicle accidents in January 2019 . More than half of the fatalities were pedestrians. 3 of the fatalities were cyclists, 3 were passengers and 3 others died behind the wheel. This number compared to 20 fatalities in December and respectively 11, 18, 17, 13, 21 and 28 in January 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  This is the highest amount of traffic deaths for a month of January in 5 years. (click on graphs for full size view)

Car accident deaths NYC January 2019
For the third consecutive years NYC auto accident injuries in January stayed above 4,000. 4,347 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents in New York City in January compared to 5,361 in December 2017 and respectively 4,351, 4,383, 3,624, 3,449, 3,899 and 3,993 in January 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.

Auto Accident Injuries NYC January 2019
Pedestrian fatalities increased by more than 40% in January 2019 compared to January 2018. However the number of pedestrian fatalities was still half what it was before Vision Zero started. 10 pedestrians died in traffic accidents in New York City in January 2019 compared to 7 in January 2018 and 20 in January 2013. A month before in December 2018, 16 pedestrian died in traffic fatalities. The period covering October November December and January is the most dangerous for pedestrians  because the sun goes down a little bit after 4 pm and pedestrians become less visible by motorists during the rush hours.  The city is running preventive campaigns to raise awareness about this problem.  It looks like the campaign was more effective last year than this year as monthly pedestrian injuries never went above 10 during the entire period of October November December and January. This year, except for October monthly pedestrian fatalities were back above 10 during the fall and winter months.

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location of deadly NYC bus accidentFederal Investigators announced yesterday that the bus accident that killed 3 people in NYC in 2017  might have been caused by a thermos that was dropped between the brake and the gas pedals.  On September 18th 2017 a charter bus operated by Dahlia group sped through a red light and crashed into a MTA bus at the intersection of Main Street and Northern Boulevard in Flushing. The bus speed was 60 mph which was twice the speed limit. The accident caused the death of the charter bus driver, a passenger on the MTA bus and a pedestrian (see previous blog) .

Metallic sound heard on audio tape moments before the accident

The National Transportation Safety Board just released a report stating that the cause of the fatal bus accident was uncertain but a dropped thermos bottle might be a possible explanation. According to the investigation, moments before the accident, the bus was travelling at the authorized speed of 30 mph when a metal rattling noise is heard on the audio recording. Then the driver is heard swearing while at the same time the bus accelerates. Then the bus driver swerved to avoid vehicles and entered the intersection at 60 mph. The investigators believe the driver did not deliberately accelerate to crash his vehicle.