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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9 11 injured survivorsSo many people died and so many people were injured on 9/11 in New York.  Despite healing some survivors are still struggling. Some physical injuries have healed but psychological trauma remains. Many survivors have seen their consumption of alcohol increase. Many of them struggle financially. They feel socially isolated. Some of them have deep psychological trauma.

Among the 9/11 survivors many of them are volunteer workers who just came to help without using much protection. 16 years later some healed but others are still struggling.  A study entitled “Hospitalizations for asthma among adults exposed to the September 11, 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attack” was conducted by the New York City Department of Health and published last June. The study shows that in the decade after the attacks many workers who were exposed to dust and debris resulting from the collapse of the World Trade Center not only continued to suffer from asthma but  also from a high rate of co-morbid gastroesophageal reflux symptoms (GERS), post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and sinus symptoms.  The study found that co-morbid conditions, including PTSD and GERS, are associated with an increase in asthma hospitalizations, as are female gender, black and Hispanic race/ethnicity and lower levels of education.

Another study published this year and conducted by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and by The Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University looks at Chronic Diseases. In “Injury, intense dust exposure, and chronic disease among survivors of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001“, Howard E. Alper , Shengchao Yu S, Steven D Stellman and Robert M Brackbill found that acute exposure to 9/11 dusts led to significant long term heart and respiratory diseases.

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New York Personal Injury Attorneys Rubinowitz and TorganIn their Trial Advocacy Column in the New York Law Journal, NYC Personal Injury Attorneys Ben Rubinowitz and Evan Torgan write: “From a procedural point of view, the real goal of jury selection for the trial attorney is to preserve peremptory challenges. In civil cases in New York each side is allowed only three peremptory challenges; however, each side is allowed an unlimited number of challenges for “cause.”  This article was written in light of the recent political commentary on immigrant status. It is essential that the trial lawyer confront these issues directly or risk an adverse verdict. Unfortunately, certain political speeches have had the effect of improperly targeting immigrants. This article was written to assist Trial Lawyers to overcome such bias and bigotry.

Read the complete column in the “New York Law Journal”

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accident sceneA sedan crashed into a police cruiser yesterday night in Brooklyn at the corner of Ralph Ave and Macdonough St. in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The car accident occurred as the driver of the sedan was trying to escape the police.

Yesterday night  19 year old Scott Adam was behind the wheel of a black Sedan. His passenger was 29-year old Marquise Middeltown. After he blew a red light, two police officers approached the car to ask him to pull over. Instead Adam tried to escape but the young driver lost control of his vehicle. He almost hit the two officers and crashed into their cruiser. He was charged Today with reckless endangerment, assault with a vehicle, fleeing police and running a red light. Adam has two prior arrests. His passenger who was critically injured in the accident was charged with illegal weapons possession and reckless endangerment. He has 22 prior arrests.

Read more in the NY Daily News

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NYPD logoNYPD killed an emotionally disturbed man who was holding a knife and a fake gun yesterday night in the Bronx. The killing was recorded on official NYPD cameras.

A landlord worrying that he hadn’t seen his tenant for a long time called 911 to ask the police to check on him. Two officers showed up at  a building located on Pratt Ave. When they entered the tenant’s apartment around 4:00 pm  they found a disturbed 31 year old man holding a knife in his hands. His other hand was hidden behind his back. The officers noticed it was a small gun and asked the man if it was real. For an hour the two officers tried to negotiate with the man, asking him to drop his knife and come out. They finally asked for back up. According to the police, when more officers showed up, the man aimed the silver pistol at the cops. At this point one officer fired his taser and two others their service weapons, striking the man several times. The video hasn’t been released yet. Police recovered the knife and a toy gun. The video footage hasn’t been released by the NYPD yet. Read more in the NY Daily News

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medical procedureIn a recent study,  a majority of doctors said they overtreat patients because they fear medical malpractice lawsuits. Not only is this fear exaggerated but also doctors seem to use it as a good excuse to perform unnecessary procedures that are very profitable to them.  For example angioplasty procedures to implant heart stents in patients are among the most overused interventions. Many procedures not only put patients at risk unnecessarily but inflate the nation’s medical bill.

In the study “Overtreatment in the United States” published in PLOS One yesterday, Heather Lyu from the Department of Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America, Tim Xu, Daniel Brotman, Brandan Mayer-Blackwell, Michol Cooper, Michael Daniel and Elizabeth C. Wick from the Department of Surgery and the Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America,  Vikas Saini and Shannon Brownlee from The Lown Institute, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America and Martin A. Makary from the Department of Surgery and the Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America surveyed 2,106 physicians about over treatment. The survey found that according to physicians themselves,  20% of  all medical care provided to patients are unnecessary.  Physicians indicated that they felt 25% of tests, 22% of prescription medications and 11% of procedures were not needed. 85% of doctors  said they were over treating for fear of medical malpractice and 59% because they were pressured by their patients. However 70.8% of them recognize that when they over treat patients, physicians tend to perform unnecessary procedures that are the most profitable to them. Over treatment can cause additional and unnecessary harm to patients  and obviously unnecessary financial burden to patients and to insurance companies. Spine surgery, operations done to narrow blood vessels in the leg or stent procedures are all profitable procedures that are the most often found unnecessary for the patient.

Picture: courtesy of Wikipedia

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Daniel-Pollack-1In a recent article  Daniel Pollack, a  professor at Yeshiva University’s School of Social Work in New York City and a frequent expert witness in child welfare lawsuits  and Cameron R. Getto a shareholder with Zausmer, August & Caldwell, P.C. in Farmington Hills, MI who focuses his practice on representing

nonprofits, health care professionals and human services organizations provides an in-depth analysis of the actual presentation and use of  state child welfare report cards.

While report cards are often useful in providing a good overview of child welfare agencies’ strengths and weaknesses, their condensed content can sometimes be misinterpreted or used unfairly. For example comparisons between States are often misleading because each State has a different methodology to produce its report card.  Politicians and media are big users of report cards. They mostly use the rankings and the grades to support their message. Report cards have also been used very effectively in litigation and the data underlying the report cards have affected court decisions throughout the United States far more than the report cards themselves.

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How many people die from personal injury every year in the U.S.? What are the leading causes of these injuries? How many were the result of a disease? Were these injuries intentional or not? Every year since 2000 the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide very precises statistics about the type of injuries people suffer in the U.S. They recently released their statistics for 2015 and here are some interesting points:

  • Among the entire population of the U.S., Heart Disease was the leading cause of death in 2015, followed closely by Malignant Neoplasms. More than 23% of the 2.7 million deaths recorded in 2015 in the US were related to Heart Disease and 22% were due to Malignant Neoplasms.
  • 146,571 people died from Unintentional Injury. This number represents 5.4% of all deaths and is the 4th leading cause of death in the U.S. just behind Chronic Low Respiratory Disease. Click on the graphs for full size10 leading cause of death in 2015
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crane in New yorkDespite multiple past crane accidents that have proven that crane operators needed to be trained and certified, OSHA one more time wants to delay the effective date of its new crane operator requirement. The original planned date was in 2014.  This extension follows President Trump’s directive that all federal agencies re-review pending regulations. At a time when the construction industry is booming the number of cranes in use is at his highest and so is the risk of accident. Continuing to delay this rule is putting construction workers and the public at higher risk of accidents especially in New York City which is one of the cities with the highest number of cranes in activity.

The City of  New York however didn’t wait for OSHA to strengthen crane rules. After 38 year old David Wichs was killed in a crane collapse in downtown Manhattan, the city requested a mandatory suspension of crane operations when wind gusts record 30 mph and above. A study was also commissioned and some of the recommendations included the requirement to use modern cranes with anemometers, black boxes and GPS. Our New York Crane Accident Lawyer Howard Hershenhorn represents the widow of David Wichs.

Picture: courtesy of Pixabay

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6 people were injured including 3 seriously in a car accident in Staten Island, NYC on Sunday. A 74 year old driver who was backing out of a parking spot in front of a laundromat, hit the gas instead of the brake and reared back at full speed in the busy laundromat. The storefront was completely destroyed and damages are estimated to be above $20,000. 8 customers were inside the laundromat at the time of the accident. 6 of them were hurt including a pregnant woman who complained she couldn’t feel her legs anymore. She was in a lot of pain according to witnesses. Some of the customers were directly hit by the car and others by the folding tables that came crashing against the washing machines and dryers. The accident was extremely scary.  According to the owner of the laundromat it is not the first time that a car crashed into the storefront. Another car crashed into the laundromat last year according to the owner. See video of the accident below and read more in the Gothamist

Also during the Labor Day week-end in New York City two pedestrians were victims of hit and run accidents. A pedestrian was fatally struck by a car yesterday night. The man who was in his thirties was attempting to cross the Hutchinson River Parkway near Exit 3 around 8 pm.  A white SUV heading North hit him but the driver never stopped. The pedestrian was taken to the hospital where he died. The police are still looking for the driver.  The other pedestrian victim of a hit and run accident is a 42 yer old woman who was walking her dog. She was crossing St. Nicholas Avenue in Washington Heights on Friday night around 10:30 pm when she was struck by a car making a left turn from 157th street onto St Nicholas Ave. The driver never stopped but the police released the video below  showing the accident and hoping someone could identify the car. The woman suffered critical injury and was rushed to the hospital where she is still struggling for her life.

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25 firefighters were injured in a fire in New York. 23 of them had to be hospitalized and 2 of them were treated at the scene of the accident according to AM New York. No civilians were injured. The fire started in the lower level of a large Tribeca commercial and residential building located at the corner of Church and Murray at the end of the afternoon last Friday. The FDNY is still investigating the cause of the fire. According to the Gothamist, the fire was ignited in the kitchen of a restaurant located on the ground floor and quickly spread into the duct work and the rest of the building. Heavy black smoke came out of the building and spread through the financial district. The fire that began as a two-alarm fire turned into a 6-alarm one necessitating 200 firefighters to respond.  The Post indicates that the building had 3 unresolved fire safety violations from 8 months ago:

  1. failure to provide a fire-alarm system.
  2. inappropriate fire exit.