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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.

Articles Tagged with personal injury

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carbon monoxide danger signEvery year in the US, thousands of people are injured and an average 70 die from exposure to carbon monoxide after using a portable generator. With more and more power shortages caused by climate events, the number of deaths caused by dangerous carbon monoxide emissions from generators is on the rise in America. Last February in Texas, after a major power shortage, 1,400 people were treated in hospitals for carbon monoxide poisoning and 17 died.

One portable generator can emit the same amount of carbon monoxide as 450 cars together

According to a recent investigation by ProPublica,  the portable generator manufacturers are well aware of the danger of their products and over the years they have been resisting multiple attempts by the Consumer Product Safety Commission to require that their devices emit less carbon monoxide.

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Hospital PatientMost medical devices used by hospitals are legacy devices that are still operating on Windows 7 that Microsoft no longer supports.  Manufactured at a time when cybersecurity was not a preoccupation, these devices can now easily be hacked and potentially be dangerous to patients. As a result, on top of safeguarding traditional IT assets, hospitals now have to figure out a way to secure tens of thousands of legacy devices from hundreds of manufacturers connected to their network.  It is a real headache for most hospitals and healthcare organizations as many of them do not even keep an inventory of their medical devices. According to a recent study only 36% of healthcare organizations know where their medical devices are.

While some devices that can cause fatal injuries, such as insuline pumps or pacemakers, are being actively monitored and recalled by the FDA, it is estimated that all other medical devices have an average of more than 6 vulnerabilities per device and that 40% of devices used by hospitals are at the end-of-life stage and do not have security patches or upgrades available.

Not surprisingly, FDA regulations in this field are lagging with the agency only saying both hospitals and manufacturers are responsible for protecting devices from cyber attacks. Hospitals are pointing fingers at manufacturers for not providing the necessary support and want the FDA to mandate lifetime support of medical devices by manufacturers.  So far, the further the FDA went was to publish post-market guidance for medtechs on what they should do to secure their products. This is not enough as hospitals find themselves dealing with thousands of devices that they are supposed not only to track but also patch to prevent cyberattacks. With the ongoing Covid19 crisis, hospitals are unable to handle this task and as a result they become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks that could injure or kill patients.

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storm drains can be deadlyWhen people died in flooding that occurs after heavy rain there is usually not a lot of information about the cause of the death except for “the person drowned”. However a recent investigation by ProPublica highlights the danger of the actual drainage system in the US. Giant storm drains with no grates have been constantly “swallowing people” during heavy rains and flooding.

A recent case occurred in New Jersey last September. A couple who was driving back from a visit at a North Jersey mall was driving back at night on September 1st when the remains of Hurricane Ida abated in New York and New Jersey. Extremely heavy rain left motor vehicles stranded on the road. The couple, like many other motorists, decided to abandoned their car, thinking it would be safer to walk in the muddy water and find a safe place to stay until a family member could pick them up. As they were walking in the muddy water, they suddenly were sucked under water into what looked like a large black vacuum. The woman, Kavya Mandly was able to grab a bridge railing and did not get sucked in but her fiancée, Dhanush Reddy who was only holding her hand, was not as lucky and disappeared in the drain. Reddy had just been sucked into a 3-foot wide storm drain. As the police arrived they started to look at the exit of the drain. They found another 18 year old man hanging in a tree who also had been pulled in a drain. He was still alive. Reddy was not as lucky and was found dead in a wooded area the following day, blocks away from the entrance of the drain.

Unfortunately Reddy is not the only one that has died after being pulled in a storm drain. Stories like this one are actually quite common but cities and communities are reluctant to put grates in front of these dangerous drains because of the cost of not only installing them but also keeping them clean so they are still functional when a storm occurs.

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injured hand of an elderly patientSadly elder abuse is quite common in the US. It is estimated that 5 to 10% of elders suffer abuse of various types such as physical or psychological abuse, financial exploitation  or neglect. Often those who are abused suffer multiple types of abuse together. Depression, chronic illness hospitalization and placement in nursing homes are often the direct consequences of these abuses. When an elder has little contact with the outside world except for his or her oppressors, the physicians are often the only ones who can determine if abuse occurs and raise the alarm. When physical abuse occurs, elder patients who show up at the emergency room often pretend they fell.  A good emergency physician should be able to differentiate between fall injuries and abuse injuries and raise the alert if necessary.

A recent study  published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine and led by Tony Rosen, Department of Emergency Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College / NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, in New York compares the injuries of 78 elder patients who were physically abused with the injuries of 78 elder patients who unintentionally fell. Here are some of the findings:

  • Bruises could be a sign of abuse. 78% of elders who were physically abused suffered bruises compared to 54% of those who fell
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Travis-ScottOur partner, New York Personal Injury Attorney Howard Hershenhorn  talked to Rolling Stone Magazine and the New York Times on behalf of our client Kyle Green who was left partially paralyzed after attending a Travis Scott Concert at Terminal 5 in New York in 2017 (see previous blog).

“Our client, Kyle Green, is devastated and heartbroken for the families of those who were killed and for those individuals who were severely injured. He’s even more incensed by the fact that it could have been avoided had Travis learned his lesson in the past and changed his attitude about inciting people to behave in such a reckless manner,” Hershenhorn said.

Kyle Green was attending a Travis Scott concert in Manhattan when he was pushed over a balcony by a surging crowd. He hit the ground and could not move anymore. Instead of being proprely taken care of by paramedics, Green was picked up by security guards who lifted him up  “without a cervical collar, backboard and other safety precautions” and dragged him toward the stage.

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golf-cart63,501 children and teenagers sustained personal injury in golf cart accidents in the US between 2010 and 2019 according to a recent study lead by Theodore J. Ganley, MD, Director of the Sports Medicine and Performance Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Chair of the AAP Section on Orthopedics.

Golf carts are being used in social events and driven by teenagers as young as 14 year old with minimal supervision

More and more, golf carts are being used outside the golf course for social events such as festivals or recreational use on farm land or community events.

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FDA-logoAfter a recent study pointed fingers at the mismanagement of medical device recall by the FDA (see previous blog),  further investigations are confirming an outdated and broken system that leaves patients at risk of serious injury and death as unaware doctors continue to use defective devices on their patients.

A recent example of this outdated process is the recall of a sleep apnea ventilator device manufactured by Philips. It is not clear so far as to when exactly, Philips executives found out that the foam used to dampen the noise of the machine was breaking down and could potentially be inhaled or ingested by patients, exposing them to carcinogenic or toxic effects. However, the company announced publicly, on April 26th, while reporting Q1 earnings that it was creating a provision of 250 million Euros to cover costs related to possible risks to users in some sleep and respiratory care machines. While the company had probably already identified that the defective devices were the ones manufactured between April 2007 and April 2021, it waited almost two other months to initiate a recall and warn consumers of potential carcinogenic and toxic effects.  After the issuance of the recall, the FDA issued a safety communication on June 30. It took until July 22nd for the FDA to classify the recall as class I event and publish a public notification.

Does this mean that all patients have been contacted and had their ventilator changed? Not at all. In the actual process, the customers of the manufacturer, such as the hospitals, the providers, the retailers or the distributors are in charged of contacting the patients and they usually don’t do it.  Instead, doctors wait for the patients to come in with symptoms.

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Haunted Houses can cause injuryIf you ran  away from a scary character in a haunted house,  hit a wall and broke your nose, even the best personal injury lawyer will probably not be able to get you compensation because of  what is called “the assumption of risk”. The assumption of risk is a legal doctrine under which an individual is barred from recovering damages for an injury sustained when he or she voluntarily exposed him or herself to a known danger.

When you or your children, enter a haunted house you know that you might be scared and as a result have irrational behaviors that might result in injuries but you agree to take this risk. Therefore if you suffered injury as a result of being scared, it will be difficult to sue the haunted house for damages.

Over the years, some people have tried anyway but most of them lost their case:

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floodFlooding and cleaning up damages after a flood can be dangerous and cause accidents that can result in severe injury and sometimes death. Here is a summary of  the most common dangers and how to avoid them.

Driving a vehicle during a storm and after a storm can be dangerous especially crossing flooded roads. It is estimated that half of the fatalities caused by flooding are people in a vehicle. Crossing an area flooded by water in a vehicle can be deadly. 12 inches of water can carry off a small vehicle and 18 to 24 inches are enough to move a larger vehicle.   It is much safer to turn around rather than risk your life driving your car through a flooded road. If the water raises around your car, you should be ready to abandon it.

Down and damaged power lines create electrical hazards and only qualified workers should perform repair work after proprely evaluating the dangers and de-energizing lines if possible. Even for qualified workers, repairing power lines damaged by a storm can be dangerous. Most common accidents related to damaged or down power lines are electrocution by contact or burn caused by electrified lines, workers falling from heights during repairs or people being struck by a falling pole or other objects falling with the pole such as tree limbs.

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Marion and Aristides victims of terrorist attackWe would like to warmly congratulate two of our clients, Marion Van Reeth and Aristides Melissas for their amazing performance last July, climbing Mont-Ventoux, one of the most difficult climbs of  Tour  de France!

The couple who suffered critical injuries during the terrorist truck attack that took place on the Greenway, downtown Manhattan on October 31st 2017,  were among 10 other victims of  terror attacks who climbed Mont-Ventoux on July 6 ahead of the Tour the France cyclists to support victims of terrorism and call for worldwide solidarity and generosity.

A symbol of the long fight that terror victims endure while recovering from their injuries and trauma, the climb marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack in the US and the 5th anniversary of the Brussels and Nice attacks and was organized by Tour the France with Association Française des Victimes du Terrorisme and V-Europe.