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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safety culture constructionConstruction workers have a high risk of getting injured or even dying in an accident while at work. Construction accidents often happen when negligent contractors try to save time or money and put profit ahead of their own workers safety. A new study looking at safety practices among contractors shows that increased safety on construction sites indeed increases Return on Investment (ROI) and attracts and retains more talented hard hats. The recently released study “Building a Safety Culture SmartMarket Report” was produced by the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) and United Rental, a construction equipment rental company.

For the study, Dodge Data & Analytics analyzed 254 American contractors using 33 indicators of safety culture in the construction industry. They found that approximately one third of the contractors were promoting a high safety culture standard in their day to day business and were investing heavily in safety management practices. Another third were somewhat promoting safety culture in their company. The last third were contractors who didn’t have much interest about safety culture and didn’t invest much in it.

The study shows that contractors who invested the most in workers safety reported less injuries, improved their projects quality, increased their projects ROI, had a lower staff turnover and were able to attract staff more easily than contractors who didn’t invest in workers safety.

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Among the various types of medical malpractice suffered by hospital patients, misdiagnosis accounts for approximately 10% of patient deaths. In a recent Opinion Page from the New York Times, Sandeep Jauhar, a Long Island cardiologist, wants to Bring Back the Autopsy as a weapon to fight misdiagnosis.

With the evolution of medicine and the proliferation of medical tests, autopsy doesn’t seem as essential these days as it was in the past to determine the cause of death of a patient. Before 1971, community hospitals were required to perform autopsies on 20% of their dead patients to earn their accreditation from the Joint Commission. This requirement was dropped after that date. Furthermore in 1986, Medicare considered autopsies financially draining and stopped paying for them. Now an autopsy is mostly considered by doctors as an educational tool.

Recent studies however have demonstrated that despite the medical technological advances autopsy can be a very effective manner to reduce the rate of hospital misdiagnosis.  In his opinion Sandeep Jauhar suggests that Medicare and private insurers pay for them again so that financial considerations doesn’t limit their use.




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Daniel+Pollack-1Many children in the welfare system suffer personal injury or or are even killed because they weren’t provided with stable and secure care. When a child is harmed while under the care of child welfare services, that child may have a viable cause of action in state or federal court. In  the article “Ministerial Versus Discretionary Acts or Omissions in Child Welfare Litigation” recently published in the Capital University Law Review, 44(1), 103-125* Andrea MacIver, J.D., DePaul University College of Law, Appellate Judicial Clerk for the Honorable Nathaniel R. Howse, Jr and Daniel Pollack, M.S.S.A. (M.S.W.), J.D., Professor at the School of Social Work, Yeshiva University in New York City, and a frequent expert witness in cases involving child welfare and developmental disabilities,  focus on state claims.

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Cumberland Farm Convenince Store43 year old Kimmy Dubuque was about to enter a Cumberland Farms convenience store when she was fatally pined against the store wall by an out of control SUV.  The car accident happened in Chicopee, Mass, the hometown of the victim in 2010. Yesterday, the Dubuque family was awarded $32.4 million plus interest by a Massachusetts jury in a case that highlights the high frequency of storefront crashes and the negligence ofCumberland Farms in failing to protect clients from dangers they were previously aware of.

Cumberland Farms is a privately held chain of convenience stores and gas stations spread all over the state of Massachusetts. The Dubuque family sued Cumberland Farm on the basis that despite many previous issues with cars speeding in their parking lot, Cumberland  Farms failed to install safety barriers and bollards which are a common safety fixtures in retail parking lots.  The lawsuit revealed that the fatal accident was far from being an isolated event. According to records submitted during the lawsuit, between 2000 and 2009 there were 485 similar incidents at Cumberland Farms convenience stores. This is almost one incident every week.  Lawyers for the family produced evidence that Cumberland Farms had looked into the issue and found that the best way to protect their customers would be to install arrays of 6-inch-wide bollards in front of their stores. This would cost $3000 to $3500 per store. The company picked narrower posts and thinner steel to reduce costs. Additionally this protection was only installed in half of the locations.

Storefront car crashes are common crashes. Fair Warning reports that 7-eleven had more than 1500 incidents in seven years and that similar incidents occur frequently at Starbucks and Dunkin Donut locations.  There are no official statistics about this phenomenon but according to Fair Warning at least 16 people (employees or customers) died and at least 587 suffered personal injury including 121 who were seriously hurt between April 2013 and April 2014. Most of these crashes could have been prevented if the owners had installed bollards or other type of safety barriers in front of their stores. These types of safety measures usually cost less that $10,000.

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Falls are the number one cause of fatal construction accidents. Every year in America, more than 10,000 hard hats suffer serious personal injury  and more than 200 died because they fell while working on a construction site.  In 2012 a coalition of government, labor and management representatives launched a yearly campaign to raise awareness about this issue. This year, the campaign which consists in a National Stand Down will take place from May 2nd to May 6th.  On that day, OSHA is asking employers that hire construction workers to take the time to stand down and conduct a fall prevention workshop or other activity related to fall prevention with their employees. OSHA is providing interested employers with toolboxes to help them discuss specific fall prevention subjects such as ladder safety, scaffold safety or fall protection equipment.

The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) recently released a detailed report about the Safety Stand Downs conducted in 2014 and 2015. The reports shows that the campaign reached around 2 million workers over the last two years. Stand-downs were mostly organized by commercial construction companies but also by highway, governmental and residential companies. Most common activities conducted on stand-down last year included training, equipment inspection and audit as well as toolbox talks. The year before meetings and handing out materials to employees as well as training were the most common activities.

Even though the participation was lower last year, the organizers are hopping to see greater participation this year and to reach out to more construction workers. On February 16th the CPWR will organize a webinar related to this campaign . Leaders from CPWR, NIOSH and OSHA will be discussing last year’s Stand-Down and highlighting the plans for 2016. People interested in attending this webinar can register here.

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Daniel+Pollack-1In a recent article about the media coverage of child fatalities when a human service agency is involved, Daniel Pollack, a professor at Yeshiva University’s School of Social Work in New York City questions the fairness of the press. After reviewing many articles from previous years related to these type of cases, Professor Pollack is questioning the ethics and the integrity of  some journalists. He concludes that “without a fair press we risk inadvertently prejudicing the justice system later on. The guilty may go free, and the innocent may suffer undeserving penalties or miss their opportunity for compensation”.

The complete article can be downlodad here

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rubinowitz_torganIn their Trial Advocacy column in the New York Law Journal, Personal Injury Attorneys Ben Rubinowitz and Evan Torgan write: Damages in a case involving the death of a working spouse and parent can readily be communicated to a jury. The more difficult case is when the decedent is a young adult just starting out in life, unmarried with no children, little to no earnings history, and survived only by his parents, all of which raises issues that should be confronted head on in jury selection and opening statements.

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SoMummyInjuriesPosterpeople died and 4000 suffered personal injuries during Halloween activities last year. 40% of the injuries were lacerations from pumpkin carving.  People, especially children, tripping in their costumes and falling caused many injuries as well. Candle fire is also a common cause of injury during Halloween.

Below are a few tips to keep your Halloween celebration fun and prevent it from turning into a real nightmare:

  • Do not give carving knives to children but have them helping you by tracing the design with a marker or scooping big chunks with spoons. Be careful yourself when using the carving knife!
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teen driverRecent statistics show that 41% of teen drivers who died in car accidents were intoxicated. While drunk driving has been declining, driving while impaired by other substances such as  weed, other illegal drugs, prescription and OTC medication has increased significantly. The National Teen Driver Safety Week that will kick off on October 18th will focus on this particular issue. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in association with the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has developed material for schools and for parents to increase teen awareness about impaired driving.  Under the theme “Avoid the Regret – Avoid Impaired Driving” the campaign is seeking solutions to prevent teens deaths and injuries on the road.

Read more here


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Bed handle
The company Bed Handles Inc is re-announcing the recall of 3 models of their portable bed handles  because they are defective and have caused the death of 4 people. These products are: Bedside Assistant, Model BA10W, Travel Handles Use, Model BA11W, Adjustable Bed Handle, Model AJ1.

When attached to an adult bed without the use of safety retention straps, the handles can shift out of place, creating a dangerous gap between the handles and the side of the mattress, posing a risk of entrapment, strangulation and death.

Recently a 90 year old woman died in a nursing home after being entrapped in the gap between the mattress and the defective bed handle. Before her three other women died in similar conditions.