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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keyless carMultiple owners of key-less cars have been dying of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning after mistakenly thinking that their car had stopped running. In most scenarios the car owner parks the vehicle in the house garage and takes the wireless key fob thinking that the car has shut down while it hasn’t. Overnight the garage and the house fills with odorless carbon monoxide gas, leaving the owner and other potential house residents dead or severely injured.

There are no exact records of how many people have died or how many people were left with serious injuries such as brain damage after inadvertently leaving their car running but 24 deaths nationwide were reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since 2006 when the first known case occurred. 70 year old Jeanette Colter, a Florida resident who  left her Toyota Avalon running in the garage ended up collapsing and dying between her kitchen and her living room. Her 89 year old husband died in the bedroom.

In 2009 after several other similar accidents were reported, the Society of Automotive Engineers formed a panel to develop recommended practices to address key-less ignition hazards. In 2011, the group recommended an externally audible or visual alert or automatic shut off of the engine if all doors are closed and the key fob is not present. That same year the NHTSA proposed a new rule with similar recommendations.

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Hit and Run Crashes by State2,049 people died in 1,980 fatal hit and run crashes in 2016 in the US according to a study recently released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This is the highest number of fatal hit and run crashes ever recorded in the US. Among the 2,049 people who died in these accidents, 1,229 of them were pedestrians, 169 were cyclists, 380 of them were drivers and 229 were passengers. Since 2009 hit and run crashes increased by an average annual rate of 7.2% per year.

New Mexico, Louisiana and Florida have the highest rate of fatal hit and run crashes per 100,000 people while New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota have the lowest rate.

Almost 60% of the victims of fatal hit and run are pedestrians with elderly over 80 year old and children under 6 being 50% more likely to be a victim of such accidents. Gender is also a factor. 70% of pedestrians dying in a hit and run accidents are male.

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Prevent falls in Construction Campaig
Falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry. In 2016, a total of 991 hard hats died in construction accidents. Almost 40% of them, 370,  lost their life after they fell from a height. Most of these accidents may have been prevented.

To increase awareness and to prevent more injuries and deaths related to falls, OSHA and several other partners advocating for safe construction practices are asking employers all over the country to organize Safety Stand-Down events and discuss safety with their employees.  Employers are invited to focus on Fall Hazard and Fall Prevention. Safety stand-down can be conducted in various ways. Toolbox talk during a break or inspections of safety equipment, development of rescue plans or discussion related to specific job hazards are examples of activities that can be organized during a safety stand-down. The OSHA website proposes various suggestions and ideas to employers on how to organize a successful Stand-Down. OSHA also has an event page for Stand-Down events by regions that are free and open to the public. OSHA also encourages all employers to share their Stand-Down experience. Employers who are participating in the campaign will also receive a Certificate of Participation.

CONSTRUCTION ACCIDENT PREVENTION EVENTS ORGANIZED BY THE NYC DOB

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Positive Train Control can prevent accidentsIf Positive Train Control (PTC) was functioning, the recent fatal train accident between a New York –  Miami Amtrack and CSX freight train in South Carolina wouldn’t have occurred. PTC uses satellite technology and track sensors to determine the location of a train and to find out if there is a speed restriction or an obstruction ahead.

Unfortunately  wayside signals had been turned off for maintenance and were inoperative in the area of the accident . If they had been working PTC would have automatically slowed down the train and the accident may have been prevented.

PTC would have also prevented the derailment of the Amtrack train in Dupont, Washington last December. In the December accident, the train enginer failed to slow down before a curve causing the train to derail. This type of accident would not happen anymore if PTC was installed and functioning on all national railroads.

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Fall Protection SystemThe Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) looked over 33 years of data from the NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation program and found out that falls were responsible for 42% of hard hat deaths. The CPWR searchers also found that  54% of the workers who died after falling did not have access to a personal fall arrest system and 23% had access to it but did not use it.  The study also found that roofers, siding and sheet metal contractors were those who most often were not provided with a personal fall arrest system. These numbers  clearly show the importance  of  holding contractors accountable for the safety of their employees when they work at high elevation.

NY STATE SCAFFOLD LAW MUST BE KEPT

In New York, the Scaffold Safety Law (Section 240(1) of the NYS Labor Law)  holds an owner and general contractor responsible for the death or the injuries of a worker if the worker wasn’t provided with the necessary safety equipment when working at height. Big construction companies and insurance companies have been trying to kill this law for years. However the Scaffold Law remains the most effective manner to make sure construction workers are protected from falls. This is particularly important in New York City where a lot of hard hats are participating in the construction of high rises buildings.

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one of the vehicles recalledIn April 2016, Polaris recalled a potentially defective recreational off-highway vehicle so it could be repaired. The model recalled was the Polaris RZR. The company recalled it after they received more than 160 complaints that some of the RZR models caught fire as consumers were driving. A 15 year old passenger died and 19 people reported injuries such as first, second and third degree burns.

Last December Polaris and the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced that after the repair consumers continued to report fires. These fires have caused death, serious injury and property damage. Additionally new models launched by the company in 2017 have also experienced fires.

If you, a friend or a family member owns a Polaris RZR, please stop using it and contact Polaris at 800-POLARIS or 800-765-2747 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. CT Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday or online at www.polaris.com 

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construction workerThe industry hates to talk about it but in the recent year many construction workers have been dying not from accidents but from opioid abuse. According to a previous study, workers in the construction industry are the second most susceptible workers to use opioids after workers in the food industry. The study estimates that more than 15% of  construction workers are using illicit drugs. Because of the nature of the job, construction workers are more prone to serious injuries than workers in other industries. Statistics indicate that the cost of opioid use is greater in construction than in any other industry. When comparing the total cost of prescription by industry, opioids account for 20% for the construction industry compared to an average 10% for the average of all other industries.

Opioids are used to reduce pain but they can cause addiction and lead to abuse

A recent article in Cleveland.com looked at deaths statistics and found that Ohio construction workers were seven time more likely to die from an opioid overdose than workers in other industries.  Workers addicted to opioids not only can cause injury to themselves but they also put at risk their coworkers or even passersby.  They also have a negative impact on the productivity and the profitability of their employers.

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electric linemenConstruction is the industry that has the highest electrocution deaths among all industries. OSHA identifies electrocution as one of the leading causes of fatality among construction workers. In its latest Quarterly Data Report, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) is taking a close look at recent electrocution data and proposes solutions to prevent them.

Since 2012 the construction industry rose back from the 2008 recession and so did the number of fatal construction accidents. From 2011 to 2015 fatal construction accidents increased by 26% from 781 to 985 fatalities. During the same period, electrocution fatalities rose by 17% from 70 to 82 fatalities. In average during this period electrocution deaths represented 9% of all construction accident deaths.

Electrocution deaths in the construction industry have been declining since 2003. From 134 in 2003 they recorded their lowest in 2012 with 66 deaths and went back up to 82 in 2015. The rate per 100,000 workers also went down from 1.3 in 2003 to 0.8 in 2015.

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Defective Panasonic TVA potentially defective tabletop swivel stand sold with a 55-inch flat screen TV  was recently recalled by Panasonic. The Panasonic 55-inch, LED/LCD flat screen televisions with a tabletop swivel stand is a model that was sold to schools, government buildings and hotels from July 2012 through March 2014 .  The mounting screws that connect the stand to the TV can become loose and the TV can unexpectedly fall off the stand. This pose a risk of severe injury or even deaths to children.

If you see one these TVs on a swivel stand at your child’s school, at work or in a hotel please inquire if it was recalled and repaired. If it wasn’t please make sure that the  TV is detached from the stand and placed in a safe location before calling Panasonic for a free repair kit.

Panasonic indicates that so far nobody was injured.  755 models have been sold in the US and 130 in Canada. The TV is black with Panasonic printed in the front and the swivel stand is in a glossy black color and is 50 inches long. The model number for the television is TH055LRU50. It can be found on a tag on the back of the television.

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5,190 workers suffered fatal injury on the job in 2016, an increase of 7% compared to the 4,836 fatal injuries recorded in 2015. This is the first time since 2008 that the annual number of fatal work injuries is above 5,000. The fatal injury rate was on the rise as well with 3.6 per 100,000 full-time workers being injured on the job compared to 3.4 in 2015.fatal work injuries 2016

Almost half of the fatal work injuries occurred during transportation events. Among the 2,083 workers who suffered fatal injury in a transportation accident, 1,252 died in roadway accidents involving motorized land vehicles, 342 were pedestrians struck by a vehicle, 245 were involved in accidents involving motorized land vehicles, 130 in accidents involving an aircraft, 50 in accidents involving a rail vehicle, 48 in accidents involving a water vehicle and 16 in accidents involving animal transportation or pedal vehicle.

866 workers died from violence or other injuries by persons or animal. Violence at the workplace is the second most common cause of  fatal work injuries.  It increased by an alarming 23% last year.