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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 wrongful death

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Forklifts can be dangerous and result in accidentsAround 100 people die and around 34,000 are injured in forklift accidents every year. The most common forklift accidents are rollovers  and in almost half of the fatal accidents, the operator of the forklift is being crushed when the forklift tips over. Forklifts can also be very dangerous to pedestrians who can get struck or crushed by a forklift or by a falling load.

To raise awareness about forklift safety, the second Tuesday of June is NATIONAL FORKLIFT SAFETY DAY for the 9th consecutive year.

Why do forklift accidents occur?

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truckAs more and more truck traffic in the US leads to more and more truck accident fatalities, truck safety activists are pushing for  the government to revise safety regulations and laws related to truck traffic in the US.

5,600 people died in truck accidents in the US in 2021 compared to 4,965 in 2020, representing an increase of 13% from one year to the other.  This is the highest number of truck fatalities ever recorded in the US. Compared to 2010, the number of truck accident fatalities increased by 52%.

The Truck Safety Coalition released a statement pointing at multiple regulations updates that could prevent deadly truck accidents:

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traffic fatalities US 2021Early estimates of motor vehicle traffic fatalities in 2021 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that while traffic fatalities increased in the US in 2021 compared to 2020, the number of deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled slightly declined.

An estimated total of 42,915 people died in crashes in the US in 2021 compared to 38,824 in 2020. This represents an increase of 10.5%. This is also the highest number of road fatalities since 2005.

In the State of New York, 1,139 people died in crashes in 2021 compared to 1,046in 2020, representing a 8.8% increase.

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In its latest bulletin, the Center for Construction Research and Training looks at injuries and fatalities sustained by construction workers in the US over a 10 years period. Based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI) for the fatal injuries and on on employer logs obtained from the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII) for the non fatal injuries, this bulletin provides an overview of the trends of injuries and deaths in the construction industry.

Construction work remains one of  the most dangerous job in the US

In 2020 construction workers represented 7.3% of the total workforce in the US and 21.7% of the workforce fatal injuries. Globally, between 2011 and 2020, working on a construction site became more dangerous with both hard hat fatality and injury rates on the rise. 2020 was affected by the Covid 19 pandemic and while less fatalities and injuries were reported because the activity was limited, the fatality rate and the injury rate both reached a record high that year.

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fall prevention posterLast year, 7 out of the 9 NYC construction worker deaths reported by the Department of Buildings were caused by falls. Additionnally the DOB also reported that 194 workers were injured in fall accidents on New York City construction sites during the same period. This was a record high compared to the previous years (see previous blog). Despite increased safety training requirements for workers, fall remains the number one cause of accident deaths and injuries in the New York construction industry and nationally as well. According to the most recent statistics from the BLS 351 out of the 1,008 construction fatalities recorded nationally in 2020 were fall fatalities. Most of these accidents were preventable.

Preventing fall accidents is the reason why, every year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in collaboration with multiple other partners involved in workplace safety such as the CPWR and NORA are organizing a National Stand Down during which employers are invited to voluntarily take a break from work and sit down with their workers to discuss or participate to activities  related to fall hazards.

Anyone can participate and every year sees more and more participants from major corporate construction companies to small contractors, including the US Army and other governmental participants. All employers  participating receive a certificate.

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drone inspection can prevent accidentsRecent studies found that drones can be helpful in identifying hazards and preventing workers getting injured or killed in construction accidents.  The Center for Construction Research and Training is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday March 23 about drones in construction and specifically how they can help make construction sites safer. The webinar will be presented by the authors of 3 studies in this field:

  1. Rod Handy, MBA, Ph.D., CIH, University of Utah  who is the lead author of a study entitled Nebulizer-retrofitted drone deployment at residential construction sites will explain how water spraying drones can reduce exposure to air pollution and heat stress and as a result prevent dangerous illnesses
  2. Masoud Gheisari, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management, University of Florida who is the lead author of Using unmanned aerial systems for automated fall hazard monitoring in high-rise construction will share how drone technology can help identifying hazards and safety issues on construction sites especially the most common and dangerous ones that are related to falls. His study focuses on the monitoring of guardrails near unprotected edges and openings in a high rise construction site. The author developed an automated fall hazard recognition system that could facilitate the recognition of guardrails in high rise construction projects.
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IPhone_12_-_3A recent study found that strong magnets in some electronic devices can interfere with the good functioning of  pacemakers and result in potential injury or death for the wearer.   “If you carry a portable electronic device close to your chest and have a history of tachycardia (rapid heartbeat) with an ICD, strong magnets in these devices could disable your cardioverter defibrillator,” said lead author Corentin Féry, a research engineer at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland, Institute for Medical Engineering and Informatics.

Devices that have been identified as potentially dangerous for people who have a cardioverter defibrillator are the new Apple 12, Apple Airpods charging cases, the second generation of Apple pencils and the Surface Pen from Microsoft. In the study, researchers were able to deactivate five different types of defibrillators by simply putting the electronic devices next to the defibrillators. Deactivation would occur when Apple products were at a 0.78 inch distance from the pacemaker and 1.14 inches for the Microsoft pen.

The study is a confirmation of a previous warning by the FDA that some electronic devices such as mobile phones and smart watches might cause some medical devices implanted in patients to switch to “magnet mode”. Many implanted medical devices are designed with a “magnet mode”,  which is a safety features that for example allows patient with such devices to undergo some medical procedures such as MRI. However this safety feature can actually become dangerous for patients, especially those wearing a pacemaker, if an electronic device such as a cellphone can switch the pacemaker to “magnet mode”.

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car accidentDespite a significant decline  in the number of average miles driven on American roads during the pandemic, the number of car accident fatalities exploded. While multiple studies found that most fatal car accidents during the pandemic were caused by reckless behaviors such as speeding, drunk driving or drugged driving, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety tried, in a new study to find out the underlying mechanisms leading to this increase in dangerous driving.

In 2020, the foundation collected data from 2,888 drivers who had been driving between October 23rd 2020 and November 23rd 2020.  Drivers were asked if they reduced, increased or did not change their driving habits because of the pandemic. Participants were also asked if over the 30 days under study they had engaged in risky behavior such as talking on a cellphone, texting, emailing, speeding on highways, speeding on residential streets, running red lights, switching lanes aggressively, drowsy driving, driving without a seatbelt, driving after drinking alcohol, driving after using marijuana.

The study found that drivers who reduced the most their driving habits were 50 year old female drivers and the ones who increased the most their driving habits were males 39 year old and younger.  50 year+ females were also the category of drivers that were taking the less risks on the road while 39- males were the category taking the most risks on the road.

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Tesla Motors is facing product liability lawsuitsA man who was seriously injured and whose wife died after their Tesla struck a fire truck while on Autopilot mode is suing Tesla for personal injury and wrongful death. Derek Monet was driving his car on autopilot on a highway in Indiana in December 2019 when the car crashed into the rear of a fire truck that was responding to an accident and was stopped on the road.  Derek suffered a broken spine and a broken femur and his wife died in the accident

In his claim Derek says Tesla knew that its software failed to react to emergency vehicles with flashing lights but did not recall its vehicles to update the software.  The claim was filed  after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched an investigation last year and asked Tesla to release its non-disclosure agreements with drivers who were testing the “full-self” driving system. The NHTSA is aware of 11 similar accidents during which Tesla cars struck emergency vehicles with flashing lights and wants to know why the car manufacturer did not recall its vehicles after it transmitted a wireless software update designed to prevent crashes into stationary objects.

The 68 page lawsuit demonstrates how Elon Musk and other executives were well aware that the autopilot was not safe but that the company continued to “hype”  its cars as if they were

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car accident Last week, Pete Butigieg revealed a national plan to significantly reduce personal injuries and deaths caused by car crashes. The National Roadway Strategy is an ambitious plan to reach a long term goal toward zero roadway fatalities on American roads.  The announcement  of a “Vision Zero” plan at national scale is coming in the steps of a significant increase  of road fatalities in the US. According to early estimates by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 20,160 people died in auto accidents in the US, an increase of 18.4% compared to the same period of 2020.  This is the highest projection of road deaths since 2006 for that particular period.

The National Roadway Strategy is a major change of direction for the US DOT which in the past was not doing much for road safety with the exception of producing accident statistics. The details of the strategy and how local leaders and States will implement it are not defined yet but they will be based on the “Safe System Approach:  Safer People, Safer Roads, Safer Vehicles, Safer Speeds, and Post-Crash Care”. This approach is very similar to the Vision Zero approach already developed in New York City and in other cities, especially in Europe, and consist in developing programs to reduce crashes and make them less deadly.  A Safe System is based on 6 principles:

  1. Serious injuries and death are not acceptable: the goal of the system is to eliminate catastrophic accidents