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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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New York Medical Malpractice Lawyer Jeffrey BloomOur partner Jeffrey Bloom will be speaking about Medical Malpractice at the “Bridging the Gap” Seminar organized by the New York State Bar Association on February 20.

This two-day program dedicated to young attorneys who just finished law school will help them “bridge the gap” between law school and the reality of practicing law in New York State. Participants will built a foundation in the practical skills, techniques, and procedures that are essential to the practice of law.

Jeffrey Bloom will be a member of the program faculty among 12 other lawyers coming from different types of law practices. He will cover the subject of Medical Malpractice. Since graduating from law school in 1979, Jeffrey became one of the most prominent Medical Malpractice Attorneys in New York. He has represented numerous clients who suffered catastrophic personal injury as the result of medical malpractice such as improper care resulting in brain damage and Erb’s palsy or failure to diagnose cancer. He was instrumental in the recent passing of the Lavern Law. He also served as lead counsel representing the Estate of Joan Rivers in a medical malpractice action arising from her death following surgery at an ambulatory surgical center.

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train-accident-prevention
Did you know that 95% of fatal train accidents were caused by vehicles at train crossings and pedestrians on tracks? Every 3 hours in the US someone is hit by a train. Most of these accidents are preventable.

According to preliminary Federal Rail Road Administration Statistics, 262 people died and 871 were injured in 2,296 collisions with trains in 2018 in the US. 2,217 collisions occurred at highway-rail grade crossings. Pedestrian rail trespassing resulted in 1015 causalities (fatalities and injuries).  California and Texas have the most accidents  for both highway-rail grade crossings and trespassing.  New York ranked number 4 of  all states with the most pedestrian trespassing causalities. 36 people died and 13 were injured while trespassing on New York railroads in 2018.

Tips for New York Pedestrians to stay safe near railroads

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Two years ago one of our clients, actress Ruthie Ann Miles and her five year old daughter were struck by a reckless driver as they were crossing the street in the crosswalk with the light in their favor. The daughter was killed and the actress who was pregnant at the time of the accident, later on lost the baby she was carrying. Another 1 year old child was also killed in the accident. The driver, Dorothy Burns, had a history of reckless driving. In the year preceding the accident she was caught 4 times speeding in school zone areas and 4 other times running a red light.

Despite the many Vision Zero Initiatives implemented since 2014, the number of people dying in traffic accidents increased again last year after 4 years of decline. Many accidents were caused by reckless driving.

In an effort to address this problem, the City Council is about to adopt a new program that targets reckless drivers. The reckless driving initiative is expected to start as a 3 years pilot. During that time any owner of a vehicle that is charged with 5 red light camera violations or 15 speed camera violations in a year will have to complete a safety course developed by the DOT. If a reckless driver refuses to attend the safety course his vehicle may be seized.

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IMG_3253-e1580916956170Two years ago, Harry Ramnauh was crushed to death by a glass panel at a Manhattan construction site. He was a security guard at the construction site of the $3 billion Luxury Central Park Tower which when completed will be the tallest residential building in the world. Reaching 112 floors and a height of 1,550 feet, it is also the most expensive development in New York City. Apartments are listed at up to $63 million with a total projected sellout of $4 billion. (see building under construction on the right side of the picture)

Contractor argues that “failure to safeguard the public” doesn’t apply because the victim was a worker

After the death of the security guard, The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) issued several citations to Lendlease, the general contractor for the construction of the residential tower.  Lendlease successfully fought most of the violations and recently filed another petition against the DOB and the Office of Administration Trials and Hearings  arguing that one of the citations, “failure to safeguard the public during construction”, doesn’t apply to the case because the victim was not a member of the public but a worker at the construction site. Lendlease also argues that the violation was issued based on an inspection that occurred 3 days after the accident and therefore it didn’t reflect the conditions at the time of the fatal construction accident.

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location of the pedestrian accident in NYCA pedestrian died after being rolled over by a car backing out of a driveway in NYC. The accident occurred at 30-23 69th Street in Jackson Heights, Queens around 6:15 pm on February 2nd. The driver of a Honda backed out of his driveway, struck a 57 year old man who was standing on the sidewalk and rolled over him.  The man was rushed to the hospital but he could not be saved. His identity was not released by the police. The victim is the first pedestrian to die in a car accident in February 2020. Last month 14 pedestrians were killed in traffic accidents in New York City: 5 in Brooklyn, 5 in Queens, 2 in the Bronx and 2 in Manhattan.

The driver whose identity wasn’t released either, stayed at the scene of the accident and was not charged.

Drivers must exercise due care while backing out of a driveway especially when it is dark outside

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trucks-kills-cyclist-tweetA cyclist was killed in a truck accident in NYC last week.

41 year old Pedro Lopez is the first cyclist to die in a traffic accident in New York City in 2020. He was killed by a reckless truck driver who was making an illegal U-turn at high speed on Vandervoort Avenue in Brooklyn. The accident occured on Thursday around 2:40 pm. The cyclist was rear ended by the truck. He was rushed to the hospital where he later died from his injuries.

Despite a video showing the recklessness of the truck driver, the police didn’t charge him

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Reckless driving caused two people to die in separate car accidents in the New York area at the end of last week.

In the first accident, 39 year old Lisettte Quintanilla was driving home with her 8-year-old son when they were rear ended by a speeding drunk driver identified as 26-year-old Nicole Pollock. The accident occurred a little bit after midnight on Sunday morning. Quintanilla was driving on the Meadowbrook State Parkway. She was in the northbound lane just after exit M7 when Pollock rear ended her, causing the car to leave the road and crash into a tree. Quintanilla was rushed to the hospital where she died. Her 8-year-old son suffered a broken arm.

Pollok first tried to walk  away from the scene of the accident when the police was attending to the victims. She then resisted arrest, fought with the police and tried to slip out of her handcuffs. She was charged with vehicular manslaughter, DWI and assault. When she appeared in front of the judge yesterday she pleaded not guilty to the charges. The judge deemed her a flight risk and ordered her held in jail instead of a $200,000 bond.

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1200px-Harlem_condemned_buildingTwo people were recently killed by falling debris in New York. In January a woman was killed in Queens after a piece of plywood detached from a building (see previous blog). A month before another woman was killed in Midtown after debris from a building under construction fell on her (see previous post).

Months before the accident occurred, the department of buildings issued a class one violation to the building owner notifying him that some pieces of terra-cota were damaged and were causing a risk to pedestrians. The building fought the violation and its lawyer told the DOB that the facade didn’t pose an immediate danger to pedestrians. “The photos and the allegations, even taken together, do not substantiate the claim that there’s any kind of a falling hazard,”  he said to the DOB. The DOB agreed to downgrade the violation but still required that the building owner repair the facade. A permit to put up a sidewalk shed and repair the facade was issued to the building owner but month later nothing had been done and as a result someone died (see article in Wall Street Journal).

In other cases, sheds and protection are installed, but the owner doesn’t effectuate any repairs and ignore the fines received by the DOB. In 2001 the owner of a building in the Bronx was required by the DOB to immediately close a children’s playground that was compromised by a crumbling facade. The owner closed the playground but never did the repairs. The playground has now been closed for almost 20 years and the building owner has ignored 19 violations, didn’t pay the accumulated $49,000 in fines and didn’t show up at 7 hearings on the dangerous conditions. This situation is not unique. In new York City, there are 1,400 facades that have been deemed dangerous for pedestrians by the DOB and that have not been repaired yet (see New York Times article).

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SUNY-DownstateTwo top level transplant surgeons are alleging that they have been fired by SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn after they raised the alarm on gross medical malpractice occurring in the cardiothoracic surgery and cardiothoracic intensive care units.

Dr Gruesser, a top transplant surgeon who operated on Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford after she was shot and saved her life, was hired by SUNY as Downstate’s Chair of the Department and Chief of Transplant. When hiring him SUNY’s goal was that he would turn Downstate’s Cardiothoracic Program and General Surgery Residency program around.

During his tenure, DR Gruesser and his team uncovered several serious patients safety issues including:

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2 construction workers died after a trench collapsed in Long Island, NY. The two men were installing a septic tank for a private home located on Wolver Hollow Road in Brookville. They were 30 feet down at the bottom of the excavated area when one of the walls collapsed. Dirt and sand quickly covered the two men. First responders rushed to the rescue. They were able to recover one of the worker who was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. As they were digging with their hands and shovels to search for the second worker, another wall started to give way. Rescuers had to promptly exit and the wall had to be secured until the search for the other man could continue.  His body was finally recovered.  The workers whose identity has not been released were 45 and 57 year old. Read more on the ABC website .

https://www.newyorkpersonalinjuryattorneysblog.com/files/2020/01/1200px-Excavation_for_installation_of_light_towers_at_the_under_construction_Mid-Day_Storage_Yard_in_Queens._CQ033_9-8-2017_37101223191.jpgExcavation is one of the most dangerous activities in the construction industry. In 2018, OSHA launched a National Emphasis Program on Trenching and Excavation in order to reduce the number of injuries and deaths related to this activity. This emphasis program was launched after a recent surge of fatalities and serious injuries related to trenching and excavating. In the fourth quarter of 2019, a contractor who failed to adequately protect his employees during excavation work was slapped with a $161,771 OSHA fine. This fine was among the top 5 highest OSHA fines for the last quarter of 2019. Thankfully nobody was injured but OSHA inspectors found out that the contractor was violating several safety requirements related to excavating work such as not having a competent person conducting regular inspections of the excavation or letting workers continue to work  in an excavation that he knew was unsafe.

In 2017, an unlicensed New York contractor was criminally charged with manslaughter after a wall collapsed on his construction site killing 18 year old Fernando Vanegaz and injuring two of his colleagues (see previous blog)