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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Donna Sturm was killed by a cyclistDonna Sturm, a pedestrian who suffered traumatic brain injury after being struck by a bicyclist in midtown Manhattan almost two weeks ago died from her injuries over the week-end. Donna was left in a coma since the accident that occurred on April 24 around 1:00 pm. The 67 year old woman was coming back from lunch and was crossing 57th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues when  a bicyclist identified as 40-year old Damian Dewart recklessly ran the red light and struck her. (see our previous blog for more details on the accident)

Our managing partner, New York Personal Injury Attorney Ben Rubinowitz who is representing the family of  Donna Sturm  issued the following statement on behalf of the family:

Donna Sturm was a vibrant, energetic and wonderful woman who died as a result of carelessness and negligence.

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Location of the fatal truck accidentA pedestrian was fatally struck by a USPS truck in New York City. The accident occurred on Friday around 5:00 pm in Brooklyn.  52 year old Charles McClean was crossing MacDougal Street at Howard Avenue in Bedforsd-Suyvesant when a USPS truck stopped in the crosswalk. As the pedestrian walked in front of the truck, the driver started  to move forward and struck the pedestrian. The pedestrian fell underneath the truck and was dragged across the the street by the truck to the next crosswalk. Charles McClean was rushed to the hospital with severe injuries but he couldn’t be saved. He leaves behind him 2 twin 10-year-old daughters.  Just before the accident, McClean mother’s sent him to the store to get lottery tickets. He never came back. The mother, 72-year-old Shirley McClean previously lost two other of her eight sons. One died from gun violence and the other one from a medical infection.

USPS drivers above the law

The USPS driver remained at the scene of the accident, so far he hasn’t been charged. One of the surviving brothers, Gregory Mclean told Streetblog that the intersection wasn’t safe because most drivers only looked to their left for oncoming cars but din’t look at their right for oncoming pedestrians. He also said that postal workers in the neighborhood were reckless drivers always rushing to clock out  and accused the young postal driver wo killed his brother of homicide. Another brother, Arkim, mentioned that USPS trucks didn’t have license plates therefore they couldn’t get ticketed by the police. No tickets means no accountability, he said.

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toddler killed by van locationA toddler was fatally struck by a van in New York City. The pedestrian accident occured yesterday around 12:45 pm in Bath Beach, Brooklyn, NYC. The van which was delivering candies and had Kittles and Starbust logos on it, was making a turn from Bay 25th street onto Benson Avenue when he ran over the 3-year-old Emur Shavkator who was riding a small green scooter. The boy was with his mom and another child. His mother was frantically trying to pull him from underneath the van. When the EMS arrived the boy was unconscious. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The van driver wasn’t exercising due care and killed the young pedestrian

The driver of the van, 61 year old Johnny Gonzalez of Bensonhurst, stayed at the scene of the accident. He was arrested and charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian and failure to exercise due care. There is a stop sign just before the sidewalk where the van struck the young boy. However according to a crossing guard working nearby who spoke with the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, many drivers in the area are behaving dangerously. “I see drivers do stupid things here all the time. They race by me, they run lights, stop signs and sometimes I try to get their license plates, but it happens so fast,” she said. “I hope we can find a way for people to just slow down.” Residents also confirmed that drivers were constantly blowing the stop sign on Bay 25th Street.

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New York Construction SiteAs part of its yearly Safety Week Campaign, the New York City Department of Buildings will deploy 90 safety inspectors throughout the city to inspect construction sites and educate construction workers about safety. This year the inspectors will emphasize the new Local Law 196 compliance and distribute written material in various languages. The inspectors will have various backgrounds and will come from the Department’s newly created Construction Safety Compliance and Construction Safety Enforcement units, the Cranes and Derricks Unit, the Scaffold Safety Unit, and the Special Operations Unit.

5000 construction site visit in one week

The inspectors will not only promote safety by distributing flyers but will also effectuate regular safety sweeps and take necessary actions if needed. If the construction sites visited do not comply with safety standards, contractors and developers could face up to $25 k penalties and even see their construction site temporary closed if the lives of the construction workers are being endangered. The DOB inspectors will visit approximately 5000 sites between May 6 and 10.

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Blog_Medical_Malpractice-thumbArmy medical staff and doctors should be accountable for medical malpractice says a bipartisan group of House lawmakers that just announced a legislation that would allow malpractice lawsuits against the military by creating an exemption to the Feres Doctrine, a 69-year-old legal precedent barring that legal action. This new legislation is coming after congressional hearings of victims of military medical mistakes last April.

One of the key victims testifying was Sgt. 1st Class Richard Stayskal.  The 37-year-old green beret who miraculously survived a pierced lung after being shot by a sniper when he was deployed to Iraq in 2004 is now fighting for his life again because of  of gross medical malpractice by army doctors. In 2017, after struggling with severe breathing issues Stayskal went to visit a civilian doctor who diagnosed him with stage 4 lung cancer. Previously Stayskal consulted with Army doctors who diagnosed him with bad pneumonia. The Army doctors misdiagnosed the tumor in his lung, allowing it to double in size and spread to vital organs. A father of two young daughters, Stayskal has a one year life expectancy.

Also appearing in front of Congress last month was the widow of 25 year old U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dean Witt. The young man was admitted  at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California for a routine appendectomy. He was left in a vegetative state after a nurse anesthetist inserted a breathing tube into his esophagus instead of his trachea or airway, depriving his brain of oxygen. His family decided to remove him from life support one month after the operation.

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Chicken CoopIn 2018, 120 Americans died and 25,606 suffered illness after being contaminated by dangerous food. 5,893 of them had to be hospitalized to be treated. Produce caused half of the illnesses, then in order meat and poultry, dairy and eggs, fish and shellfish.

The infections are caused by 7 main bacteria ad 1 parasite:

  1. 9,084 cases of Salmonella caused 2,416 hospitalizations and 36 deaths. Salmonella is mainly found in eggs and chicken
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harness safety equipment on scaffoldOn April 28th, Workers Memorial Day commemorated those who have suffered and died on the job. The NY construction industry accounts for a large share of the deaths and injuries suffered by workers. While fatal construction accidents have declined by 23% in New York City over the last 5 years they increased by 39% in New York State. The main reason behind this discrepancy is the difference in regulations. While stronger regulations and an increase of enforcement and control could help reduce the construction safety crisis in New York State, businesses are heavily lobbying against them.

In New York City things are not perfect either ( 3 construction workers died over a one week period last month) but long term statistics indicate that new and old policies are helping in making construction sites safer for workers. In 2019 the funding for the New York City Department of Buildings increased to 189 million compared to 107 million in 2015. The Department was able to hire 700 more employees and increase the number of work-site inspections.  The recent implementation of Local Law 196 that requires all construction workers to have a minimum amount of safety training before being able to work on a construction site in New York City will also be helpful in preventing dangerous injury and deaths.

Scaffold Safety Law

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West 57th street between 5th and 6rth AveA pedestrian suffered a traumatic brain injury  after being struck by a cyclist in Manhattan last week. 67 year old Dona Sturm just had lunch and she was crossing west 57th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues around 1pm when the accident occurred. As Dona was in the crosswalk, a cyclist blew the red light and collided with her. The impact was so intense that both of them fell on the ground. The cyclist was ok but the woman was lying on the ground with a bleeding skull fracture. She was rushed to the hospital and was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. She is now in stable condition according to her husband.

The cyclist, 40 year old Damian Dewart stayed at the scene of the accident. He told the police that his brakes were not working proprely. The police gave him a ticket for a red light violation. In the days following the accident, the police were seen cracking down on cyclists in the area. 57th street is a very busy street in Midtown Manhattan and people working in the area have been complaining about cyclists zipping dangerously between pedestrians.

In a statement the employer of Dona Sturm wrote : “All of us who live or work in New York City do so at our peril because of bike riders speeding through intersections and often going against traffic on one-way streets. Bicycles should have a license plate to create accountability for the riders. We pray that Donna will fully recover from this tragedy.”

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NYC construction workers and their families commemorated the 16 hard hats who died and the many others who were injured  in construction accidents in New York City last year in a mass held at St Patrick’s Cathedral last Thursday. The hardhat procession into the cathedral was followed by a memorial service in the cathedral. In an emotional celebration, families and friends commemorated the 16 workers who died on construction sites between April 28 2018 and April 28 2019. Among the workers who died 13 were non unionized construction workers, 2 of them unionized workers and one was a security guard. 16 empty chairs with a hard hat and a rose were installed in the front of the church with the name of each deceased worker.

The construction industry has more deaths than any other industry in New York City and in the US as well. As the construction market is booming in the city  so do construction accidents injuries and fatalities. According to city data, compared to 5 years ago,  deaths of construction workers are up 33 % and injuries 221% in New York City. This month only, 3 construction workers lost their lives over a period of one week.

Non unionized workers are the most at risk of dying on New York Construction sites

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location pof the collision between thr truck and the cyclistA 74 year old cyclist who was struck by a truck in New York  suffered severe personal injury and might loose his leg. The accident occurred last Saturday around 7:00 pm in the Hudson Yards area. The cyclist was riding a city bike southbound on 11th Avenue when he was struck by a UPS semi-truck. The cyclist was transported to the hospital with severe trauma including a partial severed leg. A recent article in the Gothamist indicates that the cyclist may loose his leg.

According to preliminary investigations, both the cyclist and the truck were driving in the same direction when the accident occurred.  The truck driver stayed at the scene of the accident and so far he hasn’t been charged.  As often happens in this type of accident the police claimed that the cyclist collided with the truck and tried to clear the truck driver. However the police accident report doesn’t mention the nature of the collision and investigators are still looking for video footage to understand the exact cause of the accident.

No bike lane