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 wrongful death

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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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pregnancyEvery year 700 to 900 mothers are dying from health complications during their pregnancy, during the child-birth or post partum.  According to a recent article written by Nina Martin and Alessandra Freitas for Pro Publica little is known about the circumstances of these deaths except that 60% of them could have been prevented. Often hospitals concentrate on the baby but forget about the mother’s health.  Mothers too can suffer and die from birth injuries.

When such a tragedy hits a family, the grief and sometimes the guilt is so intense that members of the family are reluctant to share their story. The death circumstances are often kept private and not mentioned in the obituary. Medical institutions  have never been a trusted source of information when it comes to deaths related to health complications of their own patients especially if medical malpractice is suspected. Additionally, official statistics on maternal fatalities are so poorly reported by states that the United States hasn’t reported an official maternal mortality rate since 2007 according to a recent study published in The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

In an effort to try to put a face and a name on these 700 to 900 mothers who died in 2016, Nina Martin and Alessandra Freitas decided to launch a major investigation. They hoped that they would gather enough information about the circumstances of these mothers’ death to be able to get picture of  who these women were and why they died. They spent months searching social media and various other sources to identify these mothers. So far they have found 120 of them.

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child in carLast week a bill that would help prevent kids dying from heat stroke in hot cars was introduced in Congress. Backed by several safety, health and consumer advocates, HOT CARS Act of 2017, H.R. 2801 is a bi-partisan proposal introduced by U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-13th OH), Peter King (R-2nd NY) and Jan Schakowsky (D-9th IL). The  bill was launched at the same time as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) kicked  off  The National Vehicular Heatstroke Prevention Campaign. More than 700 children died in hot cars over the last 18 years. Every summer distracted parents unintentionally leave their children unattended in their car. This situation occurs mostly when the children fall asleep in the back seat and parents temporarily forget about them.

The bill that was just introduced proposes to require car manufacturers to install an alert system to remind parents that a child may still be seated in the back. A similar bill stalled in committee last year. If this bill was passed it would still take several years for changes to be implemented.

Some manufacturers however have already started to offer to options to prevent them from leaving their child in the back seat.   The company evenflo now has car seats equipped with sensors that will remind the driver that a child is in the car seat when the car engine is turned off (see video below). Many cases of children dying in hot cars have been reported after children entered a car and locked themselves in it. The new line of General Motors Acadia SUV is equipped with an alert that will go on if a back door is open before the vehicle is started.

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seatbelts prevent children from dying in car accidentsToo many children are dying in car accidents in the US  because they are not adequately restrained. Improper restraint is the number one cause of children fatalities in car accidents in the US. A recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that if the percentage of children unrestrained or inappropriately restrained while riding in  a car in the US  decreased from the actual estimated figure of 20% to 10%, 232 children deaths would be averted every year. The study by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, the Children’s Medical Center of Dallas and the Department of Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX,  looks at car accident data by States from 2010 to 2014.

Important variations were found from state to state. Globally 52% of the children who died in a car accident in the US camme from the South, 21% from the West, 19% from the Midwest and 7.4%  from the Northeast. While looking at factors that may increase the risk of children deaths in car accidents, the researchers found that in New Hampshire only 2% of children who died in a car accident were improperly restrained while in Mississipi 38% of the children who died in a car crash were improrely restrained.

The type of roads as well as the absence of legislation in regards to red light cameras are also important factors in children mortality in car crashes. Rural roads are the type of roads where children have the highest risk of being killed in a car accidents. Several factors such as poorer road quality, limited lighting or visibility, lesser enforcement of speed or long distances to trauma centers may explain why more children are dying on the road in rural areas. Researchers also found an increased risk of pediatric mortality in car accidents in States that didn’t have legislation for red light cameras.

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Since 2011, 52 construction workers fell to their death in New York City. In its recently published First Quarter Report, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is highlighting how the surge in work permits over the last few years is correlated to the high number of fatal falls especially in Manhattan.

Fatal falls in NYC and residential permits issued over the last 6 years
New York City is not the only location affected by a rise in fall fatalities. All over the U.S. as the economy picked up, more construction workers lost their lives on the job. According to recent statistics, 985 construction workers died in 2015. Among them 367 fell to their death.

Ahead of  the 4th Annual National Stand-Down to prevent falls in the construction industry, the CPWR decided to focus its 2017 first quarter report solely on fatal and non fatal falls in the construction industry. The report illustrates how economic ups and downs since the beginning of 2000 affected employment in the construction industry.  It points out the higher volatility in employment for Hispanic workers As of last year Hispanic workers were representing 30% of the construction workers population while in 2003 when the economy was slower they were representing 2.1%. The number of fatalities in construction sites is also highly correlated to the pace of the economy with the number of fall fatalities usually rising faster during an economic recovery. Again Hispanic workers are the most at risk of dying in a fall on a construction site.

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Every year in the US approximately 10,000 people die in car accidents caused by drunk drivers.  In an effort to prevent these types of accidents, states have been introducing Ignition Interlock Laws.  The ignition interlock is a device that is connected to the ignition of a car. When a driver wants to start a car with this type of device he has to breath in the ignition interlock. If alcohol is detected and is above the legal BAC limit for the state, the car doesn’t start. All states now have ignition interlock laws but some are more permissive than others. Globally there are 3 types of laws. “Permissive” laws are at the discretion of the judge or other sentencing authority. “Partial Laws” apply only to a certain type of offenders for example only repeat DUI offenders. Mandatory Laws apply to all drivers convicted of DUI. At the beginning of last year, 26 states had mandatory laws, 22 had partial laws and 2 had permissive laws.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that states with mandatory ignition interlock laws had a 7% decline in fatal crashes related to DUI.  The study was conducted by Emma E. McGinty, PhD, MS; Gregory Tung, PhD, MPH,; Juliana Shulman-Laniel, MPH; Rose Hardy, MPH; Lainie Rutkow, JD, PhD, MPH; Shannon Frattaroli, PhD, MPH; and Jon S. Vernick, JD, MPH all from  Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Colorado School of Public Health.

The researches analyzed crash data  from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) over a 32 year period. They compared the number of alcohol related fatal crashes before and after the ignition interlock laws were adopted by the various states. The study demonstrates that mandatory ignition laws are much more effective than the permissive or partial laws at preventing drunk driving fatal accidents.

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NYCOSH logo236 workers, many of them construction workers died on the job in New York in 2015, according to the most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As recent Congressional actions have been pushing for the deregulation of workers safety rules, these disturbing statistics may even get worse.

In an effort to fight back, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) recently announced that it has joined a national campaign for workplace safety. Entitled “Protecting Workers’Lives & Limbs” the campaign launched by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health has already rallied 92 groups across the country.

The goals of the campaign are to make sure that workers health and safety stay a priority and to insure that all workers are protected including illegal immigrant workers. The campaign will work on eliminating disparities, reduce the use of toxic chemicals at work, make sure workers have access to quality medical treatments and fair wage replacement benefits. It will also focus on getting a better count of injuries and illnesses on the workplace as many workers still fear retaliation from employers if they report their injuries.  The complete campaign agenda can be downloaded here.

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hoverboardA 3 year old girl died from her injury after a hoverboard explosion caused a major fire in her apartment in Harrisburg, PA, last Friday night. The hoverboard battery was charging at the time of the explosion.  The girl fell from the second story of her home as she was trying to escape the blaze that was ravaging her apartment. Her two sisters suffered critical burn injuries and her dad as well as a teenage boy who was in the house at the time of the accident, were treated for smoke inhalation. Dennis Voe, a 21 year old  firefighter who was en route to the fire was struck by a car and died from his injury as well.

It is the first time that a hoverboard explosion is directly linked to a fatality. The accident prompted a federal investigation. Previously the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigated multiple cases of burn injuries related to defective hoverboards. So far investigations have led to the recall of approximately half a million hoverboards with defective battery packs. At least 8 models manufactured in China with defective lithium battery packs were part of the defective models recalled. Despite the many fires and injuries caused by exploding hoverboards many families still buy them and use them.

If you or your children own one of them, you can check the list of the hoverboards recalled by CPSC. However, please remember that owning a hoverboard that is not on the list is not a guarantee that the battery may not be prone to fire hazard.  Do not charge your hoverboard at night when you sleep but during the day in a location where you can keep an eye on it and where there is an extinguisher nearby.

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Falls_Are_Leading_Cause_of_Death_Map_InfographicEvery year more than 200 construction workers die and around 10,000 are seriously injured after falling on the job in the US. Falls are the number one cause of death in construction accidents. Most of them are preventable. Planning ahead, using proper equipment and being trained for the job are key to prevent falls from scaffolds, roofs or ladders.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Construction Sector Council are joining forces to organize the fourth National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction.

This awareness campaign will take place all over the Country from May 8th to May 12th. Construction companies as well as contractors and their employees are invited to halt regular activities and organize a workshop to develop awareness on safety measures to prevent falls on construction sites. 

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Daniel+Pollack-1When a vulnerable individual is injured or dies because of negligent supervision the term “line of sight” is often used. In a recent article, Daniel Pollack, a professor at the School of Social Work, Yeshiva University, in New York City, looks at the meaning of “line of sight”.

If an individual requires continuous line of sight supervision, what does it mean exactly? Does it mean that a supervisor must constantly have his or her eyes on the individual? Does it mean that a person must have an unobstructed  view of the room where the individual is? Daniel Pollack relied on his previous experience as an attorney for the Ohio Department of Youth Services to explain that the interpretation of “line of sight” varies depending on cases.

The complete article can be downloaded here