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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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1 bicyclist, 15 pedestrians, 11 motorists and 3 passengers lost their life in crashes in New York City last May. That is a total of 30 fatalities. Since Vision Zero started in 2014, this is the first time that such a high number of traffic accident fatalities were recorded during a month of May.  Last year because of the Covid-19 lockdown, only 5 fatal crashes occurred in May and during the previous years respectively, 18, 13, 11, 18, 28, 25 and 15 people died in NYC traffic accidents in May 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013.  Since the beginning of  the Covid-19 crisis, the de Blasio administration seems to have given up on all the efforts deployed during Vision Zero and the recent traffic accident fatality numbers are similar to the numbers reported during the pre-Vision Zero era.

car-crash-deaths-New-york-May-2021
4,927 people were injured in crashes in New York last May compared to 2,437 during the Covid-19 lockdown in May 2020 and 5,554 in May 2019. The number of car accident injuries last May is a little bit lower than what it was during May 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

traffic accident injuries nyc May 2020
While looking at fatalities by category of road users, pedestrians and motorists accounted for the majority of the fatalities last May. Bicyclist fatalities have been lower than usual and passenger fatalities remained somewhat stable.  It is the first time since 2013, before Vision Zero started, that road fatalities in New York City are above 25 for two months in a row.  Over the last 12 months, monthly traffic accident deaths in New York have been 5 times over 25. Even in 2013, before Vision Zero started, monthly auto accident deaths only went 4 times over 25 during the entire year.

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A 71 year old cyclist was fatally struck by a postal truck at the intersection of 86th Street and Central Park West in Manhattan, NYC.

Last Tuesday around 5:40 pm, Jeffrey Williamson, an avid cyclist, was commuting back from his work downtown to his house in the Upper West Side when a postal truck making a right turn from Central Park West onto the 86th Street traverse hit him. The cyclist, a marketing professional who was close to retirement, was in the bike lane when the truck struck him.

He was rushed to the hospital where he died a few hours later from body trauma. He leaves behind his wife, 68 year old Chris Brimer and two children.

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workers on suspended scaffoldIn an effort to reduce construction accident deaths and injuries in New York City, the Department of Buildings has been deploying new strategies and increasing its staff. It just released a new report about it.

New inspection unit

The DOB role is not only to deliver wok permits for new construction or renovations but also to make sure that construction workers are being fully protected when they do their job. In order to do so the DOB created a new inspection unit called the “Construction Safety Compliance”. Inspectors in this unit are targeting mainly large NYC construction sites and making sure that all workers have been following the Site Safety Training and contractors are respecting all construction safety rules.

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5 construction workers died on the job in New York City between April 1st and May 31st. This is the highest number of  hard hat fatalities over a 2-month period since at least 2015. 2 fatal accidents occurred in Brooklyn, 1 in Manhattan, 1 in the Bronx and 1 in Queens. So far, since the beginning of the year, 7 workers died on NYC construction sites compared to respectively  1 and 8  for the same period of  2020 and 2019. (click on the graphs for full view)

Construction Accident Deaths May 2021 NYC
64 NYC construction workers suffered injuries in April and 38 in May. Between January 1st 2021 and May 31st a total of 223 workers were injured on the job in the city. It is more than during the same period of 2020, when 186 workers were injured, but less than during the same period of 2019 when 502 hard hats were injured.

Injuries on New York Construction sites May 21

Manhattan remains the borough with the highest number of construction accidents as well as the highest number of injuries and deaths related to these accidents

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construction workers moving equipment are at risk of struck by accidentsHard hats working at 322 construction sites in NYC were at risk of getting injured or dying in construction accidents because their jobsite was not safe.

These 322 sites including 113 in Brooklyn, 83 in Manhattan, 69 in Queens, 54 in the Bronx and 3 in Staten Island were issued a stop work order and fines by the NYC Department of Buildings after its inspectors conducted a massive safety sweep. (See previous blog).

Recent spike in NYC construction accident deaths

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New York Personal Injury Attorneys Rubinowitz and TorganIn the latest edition of their Trial Advocacy Column in the New York Law Journal, NYC Personal Injury Attorneys Ben Rubinowitz and Evan Torgan explore effective lines of questioning for voir dire. If conducted properly, not only will the information gleaned during voir dire inform a lawyer’s decision of whether or not to challenge that juror, but additionally, it will offer valuable information that can be used effectively to emphasize points during the course of trial.

The column can be found here

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job-made-boxes-can-lead-to-serious-injury-and-deathIn a recent bulletin, OSHA warns construction workers and other workers using forklifts about potential injuries and deaths caused by “job-made boxes”

What are “job-made boxes”?

Job made boxes are any makeshift attachments created by construction workers or workers in other industries such as boxes, baskets or platforms. They are often made of wood as well as metal and plastic. They look like a little balcony: a platform with 3 walls around it. Workers attach these boxes to forklifts to lift equipment, workers or material to various heights. Workers also use them to step on them when working at elevated levels.

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Fire truck accident NYC April 202110 people were injured in a fire truck accident in Brooklyn, NYC, last Friday. The accident occurred on Friday afternoon around 3:00 pm on South Fifth Street at the intersection of Driggs Avenue located right under the Williamsburg Bridge. The fire truck collided with a minivan with 8 occupants on board. They were all transported to the hospital to be treated for non life threatening injuries. Two firefighters were also injured and transported to the hospital. The police are still investigating the exact cause of the accident. (Read more in the New York Post)

One fire truck accident every other day in NYC

In a busy city like New York, fire truck accidents and other emergency vehicle accidents occur on a regular basis. According to the most recent statistics, 70 fire truck accidents were reported by the NYPD between the beginning of this year and the end of April, which is at least one accident every other day.

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6 NYC pedestrians were injured after a car jumped the curb at high speed and hit them in the Bronx early Saturday morning. All pedestrians were members of the same family and had just exited Grant Park in the Bronx after a family gathering. They were standing on the sidewalk outside the park when a gray jeep travelling at a high rate of speed jumped the curb and struck them. A 16 year old boy and his mother were pinned under the jeep. The mother was critically injured while the boy suffered broken bones. The rest of the family, another 16 year old boy, a 40 year old man and two women were also injured and transported to the hospital to be treated.

After the accident occurred, the driver and the passenger got out of the vehicle and ran away. A group of people were able to catch the driver but the passenger came back to the scene escorted with friends and one of them shot a gun in the air to scare the crowd which let the driver go.

The family told CBS News that the driver intentionally hit them. The police are still investigating the accident.

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New bike lane will prevent collisions on Brooklyn Bridge The crowded overpass of the Brooklyn Bridge has led to multiple collisions and close calls between cyclists and pedestrians over the years. For a long time, the DOT has been studying options to remediate this problem.

A previous plan in 2016 was to widen the walkways on the top of the cars to give more space to pedestrians and cyclists but the DOT dropped the idea as they were not sure the cables would be able to support the extra weight.

Narrow two-way protected bike-lane