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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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location of the fatal pedestrian accidentA pedestrian was fatally struck by a car backing up in a residential street in New York City.  64 year old Richard O’Flaherty was crossing Caffrey Avenue in Far Rockaway when he was hit by a car backing up the street. The driver initially made a turn from New Haven Avenue onto Caffrey Avenue and then proceeded to drive in reverse up Caffrey Avenue. He struck O-Flaherty who fell on the ground. He was transported to the hospital where he later died from his injuries. The driver stayed at the scene of the accident and wasn’t charged. Read more in Street Blog

A few day before, another pedestrian was killed by a speeding hit and run driver in Midwood Brooklyn. 58 year old Mariya Ursachenko, was crossing in the crosswalk of the intersection of Ocean Ave and Avenue J when a speeding car blew a red light and collided with another car that careened into the pedestrian. The faulty driver then hit another car before coming to a stop. He then jumped out of his car and fled the scene of the accident on foot.  The police caught him a little bit later. He was identified as 25 year old Mohammed Nasim.  He was charged with reckless driving, failure to yield to a pedestrian, vehicular assault, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Ursachenko was rushed to the hospital but she didn’t survive. The driver of the car that was hit was also injured and transported to the hospital. His condition was stable.  According to the NY Daily News, Ursachenko was a baby sitter who was mostly working to help her family in Ukraine.  Her 61 year old roommate said that she was a lovely woman who didn’t have much luck.  In recent years, she broke her two arms in two separate accidents and had to undergo heart surgery. Read more in the NY Daily News 

Picture of the location of the first NYC fatal pedestrian accident: courtesy of Google Map

 

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accident sceneA man was killed in a box truck accident in New York City last Tuesday. Hamlet Cruz Gomez was going grocery shopping in his SUV when the driver of a stolen box truck lost control of his vehicle and crashed into the SUV.  The truck driver, Ramon Pera was behind the wheel of the stolen truck and his driving was so reckless that he struck a few other parked cars before crashing into Cruz-Gomez SUV at the intersection of  Metropolitan Ave and Rentar Plaza in Queens. Cruz-Gomez was rushed to the emergency room but he couldn’t be saved.

The 25 year old victim was a radiology technician at Montefiore Medical Center. During the covid-19 pandemic he isolated himself from his pregnant wife. He was able to return home and escort his wife to the delivery room to welcome his new daughter around a month ago. According to his family and friends Cruz-Gomez was a hard working generous man who was ecstatic about the arrival of his baby girl. They are devastated.

After the accident, the reckless truck driver, 37 year old Pera, tried to run away on foot but was arrested shortly after. He was arraigned on charges of reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident, assault, manslaughter and grand larceny.

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The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA), is a group of trial lawyers from every corner of the country. We are committed to training our colleagues in high-quality advocacy in support of our pursuit of litigants’ right to fairness and equal access to justice. For 50 years, NITA has served as the model for advocacy training, including trial techniques and other skills that are universal across venues and among fact finders in any court of law.

Recent articles in the public and legal press have started a discussion about the need for virtual trials. During the COVID-19 pandemic, our judicial system has struggled to balance the competing right of health and safety with the right to due process in criminal and civil actions. The Fourteenth Amendment provides that no one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” These words are meant to assure that all levels of American government provide fair procedures that secure an impartial judge or jury, an opportunity for confrontation and cross examination of witnesses, and discovery. For these reasons, NITA urges and promotes in-person jury trials and other adversarial proceedings with approved medical safeguards.

While there understandably have been temporary interruptions to open courtrooms and court proceedings, it is critical that our democracy preserve traditional judicial processes. The fundamental role of the judge or jury in any case is twofold: (1) to decide the facts based on the credibility of the testimony and evidence presented, giving appropriate weight to evidence that may be conflicting; (2) to apply the law to the facts determined to be reliable. In order to judge the credibility of witnesses, a trial must have procedures in place that are effective for determining the truth.

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building-before-the-collapseA gym employee miraculously only suffered minor injuries in a building collapse in New York City. The accident occurred last week. The building was under construction for renovations. Last November building inspectors issued 3 violations for “structural cracks and bulging exterior masonry wall”. At the time of the collapse these violations were still open. Additionally, a partial stop work order was issued on June 10 for the same masonry brick wall bulging on the sidewalk with no protection erected around it.

The 3 story building located at the corner of Court Street and Union Street in Carroll Gardens was the home of Body Elite Gym. After the stop order was issued in June, the owners of the gym posted a picture of scaffolding on the sidewalk mentioning the gym was getting an exterior make over and they were looking forward to reopen after the lock-down. The gym was refurbished last year with new equipment.

The building was built 120 years ago according to public records. It was hosting a popular pool hall in the 1960ies. A neighbor who talked to the Daily News said that the building always had a bulge and that he found that very strange.  Complaints of structural instabilities have been filed with the DOB for years.

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New York Personal Injury Attorney Marijo AdimeyIn a 2nd Department decision decided June 24, 2020, (see decision here), the Court reversed a trial court’s reduction of a $2.5 million jury verdict in a medical malpractice action involving a perforated intestine during an upper endoscopy.  When conservative treatment failed, Mrs. Garzon required an exploratory laparotomy to resect a perforated diverticulum, as well as a feeding jejunostomy, during a nine-day hospital stay.  Due to presence of intra-abdominal scarring and adhesions from the surgery, Ms. Garzon is at an increased risk of developing a bowel obstruction in the future.

At the trial, our partner NY Medical Malpractice Attorney Marijo C. Adimey obtained a unanimous verdict of $2,500,000 on behalf of her client, Elsa Garzon, from a Queens County jury.  The verdict awarded Mrs. Garzon $1,500,000 for past pain and suffering and $1,000,000 for future pain and suffering (see our previous post for full case details).

Defendant filed a post-trial motion pursuant to CPLR 4404(a) to set aside the jury verdict as excessive and against the weight of the evidence.   In granting defendant’s motion, the trial court reduced the award for past pain and suffering to $550,000 and reduced the future pain and suffering award to $100,000. The court held that the award for future pain and suffering was speculative and against the weight of the evidence.

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excavation work in NYC streetsToo many construction workers are still being injured or dying while working in trenches or excavations. A new video by OSHA on excavation and trenching safety looks at previous violations and how to prevent them.

While doing excavation, construction workers are facing multiple hazards. Cave in hazard is the most dangerous one.  Unfortunately  many construction workers are injured or die in trenches because of negligence. Failure to respect excavation requirements is the 6th most common violation in the construction industry behind fall protection (general requirement), scaffolding, ladders, fall protection training and eye and face protection.

While looking at violations related to excavation and trenching the most common one is failure to protect employees in excavations with 809 citations in 2019. OSHA requires employers to set up specific protective systems such as shoring for workers in excavations however too many employers are still cutting corners as the high number of violations demonstrates.

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twitter cyclist injuredA cyclist was injured  in Manhattan, NYC, last weekend after he hit a wooden platform erected in a bike lane by a rest. Alex Sirken was riding his bike on Seventh Ave South when he hit a wooden platform left on the bike lane by Ofrenda, a Mexican restaurant in the East Village.

While the DOT  has been allowing restaurants to temporary set up tables for outdoor dining mostly in parking spaces in the streets of New York City, the guidelines are clear and do not allow restaurants to install seating areas on “No Stopping Anytime or No Standing Anytime zone, bike lane, bus lane/stop, taxi stand, or car share space”.

Ofrenda was not the only offender, other restaurants such as El Camino Cantina in the East Village were also reported blocking the bike lane with tables.

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ribbonbridgeAs New York City is experiencing a continuous increase in people using a bike to go to work, preventing bicycle accidents and making sure cyclists can commute safely between boroughs is key.

Now that the city is re-opening, bicycle and pedestrian traffic is expected to be larger than ever on all four East River bridges linking Queens and Brooklyn to Manhattan. The bridges are already so busy and crowded that it makes it difficult to respect social distancing.

In response to this concern, a team of transportation engineers led by Samuel “Gridlock Sam” Schwartz, is proposing to create light bridge structures that would be dedicated to pedestrians and bicyclists only. While this idea might seem too visionary for some, many world capitals such as Paris, London, Amsterdam or Singapore have already adopted the concept.

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New York CyclistsStreet advocates are predicting an increase in bicycle accidents in New York City as many New Yorkers , including many newbies, are opting to use a bike to commute in the city rather than risking getting infected by the coronavirus in the New York subway. The mayor listened to them and  recently announced that the DOT would double the number of temporary protected bike lanes available for cyclists to commute around the city. Nine more miles of temporary protected bike lanes will be added to the other 9 miles  already installed last month as part of the “Open Street” initiative.

Additionally another 13 miles of open streets will be added in areas that are heavily affected by the virus.

The additional temporary protected bike lanes will be installed in Queens and in Manhattan

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location of the pedestrian fatality Bronx NYCThe number of pedestrian fatalities in New York City which had significantly decreased during the coronavirus lock-down peaked back up as soon as the city started to reopen.

Yesterday night around 9:30 pm a 50 year old man who was crossing the street at the intersection of Beach Avenue and Mansion Street in Parkchester was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver.  The man was rushed to the hospital but he could not be saved.

The Police are still looking for the driver who recklessly killed the pedestrian and sped away behind the wheel of a SUV. According to the police the driver was chasing another car when the accident occured.