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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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Emotional-trauma-soon-to-be-compenated-in-NY-wrongful-deathThe Grieving Families Act that extends the compensable damages to include damages for emotional damages including grief or anguish caused by the decedent’s death as well as loss of love, society, protection, comfort, companionship, and consortium in a NY wrongful death lawsuit was passed by the New York Senate and is on its way to be delivered to New York Governor Hochul to be signed. It also extends the statute of limitations from 2 years to 3 years and 6 months. Our partner, Jeffrey Bloom, was instrumental in the passing of this law.

The current law in New York State only allows families pursuing a wrongful death action to claim damages such as  loss of financial support, medical expenses and funeral expenses. As a result, families who lost a child, a senior person or a loved one who is unemployed and is not providing financial support are not compensated for the pain and emotional distress they suffer.  For example if a child is struck by a car driver who did not yield, the current law basically estimates that the life of the child has little to no value while if the CEO of a successful company  was fatally struck in the same circumstances, his family would probably be able to recover a significant amount of damages for their financial loss.

The actual law basically tells parents and family that the life of their loved one has no value if they are not big earners. This 19th century law is extremely unfair to grieving families in New York and if  Governor Hochul signs the new bill, these families will be able to claim the above damages they suffered when their loved one was wrongfully killed by a negligent person or entity.

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Injured in New YorkIn New York,  anyone who suffered injury or damages as a result of the negligence of someone else or of an entity can file a claim. In order to obtain compensation the victim will have to prove the liability of the person or entity responsible for the injury and the damages resulting from the negligence. These element constitute the basis of a personal injury case. Because they are sometimes difficult to evaluate, victims of personal injury, especially those who suffered catastrophic injury work with personal injury attorneys who will handle their claims so they can concentrate on their recovery.

In New York, the most common personal injury claims are auto accident claims. In New York City only, according to the most recent statistics, 15 people were killed and 4,105 people were injured in car accidents last March.  Among those killed were 8 pedestrians, 3 drivers and 4 passengers. Among those injured were 1782 drivers, 1289 passengers, 294 cyclists and 740 pedestrians. Crash injuries or death are most of the time caused by the negligence of another road user and therefore  victims of car accidents can often file a personal injury claim.

Premises liability claim are also quite common in New York City as anyone who suffers injury on the premises of a residential or commercial property that was caused by dangerous or defective conditions on the premises can potentially file a lawsuit. Falling debris from inadequately maintained buildings, faulty cellar doors or cellar grate, sidewalks not proprely maintained, defective elevator or escalator, electrical issues can all lead to accidents causing personal injury and sometimes death.

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Ghost bike showing locations of previous NYC deadly bicycle accidentsWhen a cyclist is hit by a car, the injuries can be devastating and sometimes deadly. Some injured cyclists will recover others will required medical treatments for a lifetime. On the top of expensive medical bills,  injured bicyclists might also suffer emotional consequences and life changes that can have significant financial consequences. Depending on the case, the cyclist and his/her family might be able to obtain compensation for their damages and should consult with an experienced bicycle accident attorney.

What does recovering from a bicycle accident look like?

In a recent article, the New York  Post describes how David Jevotovsky,  a medical student who was riding a bike, suffered traumatic brain injury and almost died after being hit by a car in New York City in 2017. After the accident, he was rushed to Bellevue Hospital with what is called an epidural hematoma which is a bleeding between the skull and the brain. This type of injury can sometimes be deadly or if the victim survives, it can have lifetime consequences.

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increased risk of crashes on highway work zonesHighway construction zones are dangerous areas where both construction workers and motorists are at risk of getting injured or killed in crashes.

An annual study conducted by the Associated General Contractors of America and Heavy Construction Systems Specialists (HCSS), found that during the past year 64% of contractors working on highways experienced at least one crash on their work site. Among them, 32% reported 5 crashes or more.

5 or more construction workers were injured in 2% of these crashes, 3 workers were injured in 3% of them, 2 in 5% of them and  1 hard hat was injured in 8% of them. In the majority of the accidents (82%) no workers were injured.

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children going to school in NYCEvery school day morning in the 8:00 am hours, 57% more car accidents and 25% more injuries from crashes are recorded in streets around schools than in all New York City streets on average during that time.

StreetBlog just published the result of a 6 month study about road safety around schools

They studied almost 1 million car accidents in New York City from July 2015 to November 2021 and looked at every collision that occurred within 250 feet of a public school.   Despite multiple efforts by the city and by the state to reduce danger around school zones such as installation of speed cameras, crossing guards, specific school safety DOT teams and more, school areas remain dangerous.

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truckAs more and more truck traffic in the US leads to more and more truck accident fatalities, truck safety activists are pushing for  the government to revise safety regulations and laws related to truck traffic in the US.

5,600 people died in truck accidents in the US in 2021 compared to 4,965 in 2020, representing an increase of 13% from one year to the other.  This is the highest number of truck fatalities ever recorded in the US. Compared to 2010, the number of truck accident fatalities increased by 52%.

The Truck Safety Coalition released a statement pointing at multiple regulations updates that could prevent deadly truck accidents:

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traffic fatalities US 2021Early estimates of motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2021 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that while traffic fatalities increased in the US in 2021 compared to 2020, the number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled slightly declined.

An estimated total of 42,915 people died in crashes in the US in 2021 compared to 38,824 in 2020. This represents an increase of 10.5%. This is also the highest number of road fatalities since 2005.

In the State of New York, 1,139 people died in crashes in 2021 compared to 1,046in 2020, representing a 8.8% increase.

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Queens construction site where the fatal accident occurred
NYC Construction workers who have been injured or families of construction workers who died on the job can often sue the contractor and/or the owner of the construction sites as, sadly, the majority of construction accidents occurring on New York sites are the result of negligence.

The most common construction accident cases resulting in litigation in New York City are accidents related to falls. New York Labor Law Section 240 also known as the Saffold Law protects hard hats who fell from heights or got struck by a falling object.

A look at last April NYC construction accidents indicates that out of the 35 accidents that resulted in death or injuries, 20 of them were preventable and occurred after safety rules were violated. Among them were 12 fall accidents. Two of them were deadly.

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Andrew_Gounardes wrote the speed camera billsIn an effort to reduce an increase in fatal car accidents in New York City, legislators in Albany have signed a deal to renew the existing cameras program and to have them running 24/7 instead of the current schedule of 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.

Safety advocates were pleased that the deal was signed and the new amended bill was on its way to be delivered to Governor Hochul and signed.  The signature of the bill allows the speed cameras program to be extended for 3 years. However the deal is a watered down version of the bill proposed by Senator Andrew Gournades (picture) who originally included several other propositions such as:

  • Requiring the DMV to notify car insurance companies about any car accumulating five or more speed camera tickets
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OSHA logoDME Construction Associates, a negligent NY contractor who is now also listed as a severe violator, was issued a $1.2 million  fine by OSHA for 4 serious and 9 willful violations of safety rules.

The contractor was slapped with the hefty fine after one of its employees fell to his death while working on the roof of the Town of Oyster Bay solid waste disposal facility in Old Bethpage, Nassau County, NY. The accident occurred on August 19th 2021. The 56 year old construction worker fell 18 feet through an unprotected skylight. Despite working on a rooftop, he was not provided any personal fall protection equipment by his employer as required by law.

OSHA’s investigators found that the contractor failed to provide personal fall safety equipment for employees working on the rooftop. Additionally the contractor failed to protect the skylight as well as other roof openings and roof edges and exposed workers to falls of up to 22 feet.