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The Perecman Firm

New York, NY Personal Injury Blog

Vehicular Crash in Queens Involves a School Bus, Rental Truck and Car

Driving a truck is much more difficult then driving a car.

A crash involving a rental box truck and a full school bus left more than 30 people hurt in Queens. According to ABC News (4.18.15), the truck collided with a car and the school bus, then careened through the front of a food store in Queens. A customer inside of the store was left pinned against a fruit case by the truck. She was the person most seriously injured in the accident.

There were 23 children aboard the bus. None were seriously injured, but all were taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center for observation and evaluation.

The customer was taken to the hospital in critical condition and she is expected to survive.

The drivers of the truck and the bus were hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries, as was the driver of another car involved in the crash.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, but New York Police Department Accident Reconstruction Teams took measurements and interviewed eyewitnesses for a number of hours, reported ABC News.

Rental truck accidents occur for a number of reasons and can have much more tragic endings. Despite the size of rental box trucks, drivers do not need a special license to drive them. At least one major truck rental company allows 18 year-olds to rent trucks and allows 16 year-olds to rent trailers. In contrast, most major car rental companies require drivers to be at least 25 and charge a surcharge for renters under that age. Most rental agencies in New York apply graduated surcharges to younger drivers, with the heaviest fees charged to those between 18 and 21, said USA Today. In other words, renting a truck can be easier than renting a subcompact car.

A truck is much more likely to be involved in a serious injury accident. People who rent the trucks often cause these accidents. Frequently,

New York Dental Manager Posing As A Dentist Injured Two Patients

The practice of dentistry or use of the title “dentist” within New York State requires licensure.

A former manager of a dental office in the Bronx posed as a dentist before being caught.

Valbona Yzeiraj, 45, referred to herself as “Dr. Val’ even though she did not have a dentistry license. However, not having a license did not stop her from practicing dentistry on five patients. She performed “risky and complicated procedures,” according to The New York Times (4.16.15), citing the Bronx district attorney’s office.

Yzeiraj dressed in a lab coat and took X-rays, administered anesthesia and performed one known root canal. Her boss was apparently unaware of the situation as she only practiced dentistry while he was out of the office. Plus, she only accepted cash as payment.

Treatment by an unlicensed dentist or doctor is dangerous and could result in injury, disease or even death. When unlicensed people treat patients they may put them at risk. Prosecutors said at least two of the people treated by Yzeiraj suffered physical injury. One still experiences lingering pain two years after one of her procedures and another had an infection after a root canal, reported the Times.

Negligence describes a situation when someone does something accidently wrong and their action causes someone else to get hurt. It can be as simple as failing to see a stop sign and driving through it. Or, it could be more complicated.

Recklessness involves conscious behavior that is short of actual intent to cause harm, but greater than negligence. Unlike negligence, recklessness means that a person knowingly takes a risk without concern about the consequences. Yet, the person committing the reckless act does not actually mean to cause harm to anyone. Practicing dentistry on patients without a license, even without actually intending to cause them harm, could be seen as reckless behavior.

People can be held liable for any damages they cause to another person

Number Of NY Texting While Driving Tickets Skyrocket In 2014

Police departments around New York State cracked down on texting while driving in 2014. Drivers seen using their phones while driving received 75,353 summonses compared to the 55,673 issued in 2013, officials said, a 35 percent increase. In 2014, the number of tickets given out for texting while driving in New York City also increased – by 50 percent. The NYPD handed out 47,914 summonses to drivers spotted texting, compared to the 31,835 issued in 2013, reported the New York Post (4.14.15).

Police did not believe that drivers were texting less, but that their departments were enforcing the law more. The Post reported that police were being pressured by the state government to write more tickets to drivers who text. For one, week-long crackdowns aimed specifically at ticketing texting drivers were being regularly scheduled by state and local police departments.

In New York City, targeting drivers who text while behind the wheel is part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero campaign to make the roads safer.

Texting while driving carries a fine of up to $450 and as many as 5 points on a person’s license. Young drivers with only a learner’s permit could face a 120-day suspension for a first offense and could lose their license for a year if they commit a second offense within six months.

In 2011, tougher laws against texting while driving were enacted in New York State. The number of summonses has gone up significantly, by more than 700 percent since 2011, when only 9,015 texting-while-driving tickets were issued throughout the state, according to the New York Post, citing the Governor’s Office.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 were injured nationwide in vehicular crashes involving a distracted driver in 2013.

Texting is not the only type of distraction for a driver. All distractions endanger the safety of drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, and others who

Bankruptcy Ruling Protects G.M. From Ignition Lawsuits

The ruling reaffirmed that lawsuits tied to accidents after the 2009 bankruptcy could still proceed.

Late Wednesday afternoon, federal bankruptcy judge Robert E. Gerber ruled that the liability shield in the 2009 agreement that lifted G.M. from bankruptcy should be allowed to remain in place.

According to the New York Times , this ruling saves General Motors billions in claims and shuts down not only lawsuits stemming from accidents that took place before July 10, 2009 due to a faulty ignition switch, but also most of the suits seeking monetary damages for the value lost from the defective cars.  The faulty ignition switch which G.M. admits many of their employees were aware of and failed to notify consumers, is linked to at least 84 deaths and hundreds of injuries.  The decision allowed for lawsuits related to accidents after the 2009 bankruptcy to still continue.

The outcry after the defect was made public, prompted G.M. to overhaul its safety practices and recall over 30 million vehicles worldwide, which included approximately 2.6 million for the faulty ignition switch last year.

This shield was challenged by personal injury attorneys and other lawyers who were suing G.M. on behalf of owners to recover damages for the diminished value of the recalled cars.  The plaintiffs’ attorneys expressed their decision to appeal this ruling.

The families of the victims who died were very emotional and upset with the ruling feeling G.M. was getting off easy with just a slap on the wrist.  Some families were able to get approximately $1 million or more from G.M. for each death through a compensation fund administered by attorney Kenneth R. Feinberg.

Attorneys are seeking a remedy for their clients.  Steve Berman, who is a co-lead counsel representing plaintiffs nationwide in litigation against G.M. stated “It cannot be the law that Old G.M. could hide the defects, and subsequently use the bankruptcy court as a shield.”  Although this ruling appears

Young Worker Dies In Construction Site Dirt Collapse In Meatpacking District

A young construction worker died after getting buried by dirt that collapsed at a Meatpacking District construction site. Sources told DNAinfo (4.6.15) that the twenty-two year old worker was part of a construction crew that had dug below the foundation of a building to make a wooden support form to shore up the building’s facade. The worker was inside the wooden structure. When he tried to leave it, dirt fell on him, burying him up to his neck.

Police officers who responded to the 911 call found the man unconscious and unresponsive. He was not breathing when they dug him out, reported DNAinfo.

Excavation work is extremely dangerous for all workers involved and workers who are performing excavations on a jobsite should be frequently cautioned of the dangers of their work. Cave-ins pose a great risk and are much more likely than other excavation-related accidents to result in worker fatalities. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the fatality rate for excavation work is 112% higher than the rate for general construction.

The worker was taken to the hospital in critical condition, and was later pronounced dead there. The accident was under investigation.

The construction site where the fatal accident occurred was at 19 Ninth Ave., at West 12th Street where the restaurant Pastis used to be

Construction sites, by their very nature, can be dangerous places to work. The construction industry experiences more fatalities per work event than any industry in the private sector, according to the Bureau for Labor Statistics. Oftentimes, accidents are caused by construction workers’ inexperience or lack or training. In an unforgiving workplace like a construction site, even small mistakes have the possibility of ending in disastrous consequences.

This is not to say that young and inexperienced workers do not have their place of a worksite. Despite the high fatality rate in construction, it can be a safe occupation

NYC Decides To Cut Down Tree After News Report

Trees or branches that fall on a house or a person can cause devastating damage and fatal injury.

New York City wisely decided to cut down a gigantic city-owned tree. If the tree or its branches had fallen and killed anyone, a wrongful death lawsuit would most certainly have been filed. Family and friends would be grieving for loved ones whose deaths could have been prevented. A personal injury caused by a fallen tree is often preventable if the tree is properly maintained.

Queens residents Valerie and Marie Dinkins had fought for years to have the tree in their front yard cut down. They were anxious and fearful that the oversize silver maple would come crashing down on their Jamaica house. The tree was riddled with brittle branches and bark. One of the tree’s limbs fell through their patio awning in October, and the tree was hollow enough for raccoons and possums, according to the New York Daily News (4.9.15), citing court papers filed in Queens Supreme Court.

The Parks Department finally decided to cut down the tree “just hours after” the New York Daily News ran a story about it on April 9. Thankfully it wasn’t a death that compelled them to chop it.

If a person is hurt in a tree accident, the property owner or other entity that maintains and controls either the trees or the property may be sued.

A number of people have filed suit against New York City for deaths or injuries caused by falling limbs and branches.   Many of these were quietly resolved or wound their way through the courts. According to The New York Times, the city has paid millions of dollars in damage claims.

Tree accident injuries usually fall under the legal category of premises liability. Premises liability allows victims to hold property owners liable for injuries that occur on their property since property owners have a duty to maintain

Worker Dies In Lumber Mill Accident In Upstate New York

An employee of Ward Lumber died in an on-the-job accident. New York State Police believe the man was killed by a board at the Adirondack lumber mill where he worked.

Lance Sawyer III, 22, had been operating a board edger at Ward Lumber in Jay, New York, when the board shot back and struck him across the chest, reported Lake Placid News (4.9.15).

AuSable Forks Ambulance Service responded to the mill after a report of an unconscious man who was not breathing. Sawyer was taken to the University of Vermont Health Network in Plattsburgh where he was pronounced dead.

The accident was under investigation by State police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

The wood products industry is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. In a lumber mill there can be machines that process the logs by stripping away the bark, round saws to cut them in half and sawmills to break them into squares.  According to OSHA, these machines can be hazardous, particularly if they are used improperly or without the correct safeguards.

All workers in the U.S. have a right to a safe workplace. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. Company violations of this law may include failure to maintain its equipment and premises in a safe manner, failure to provide effective safeguards, failure to set appropriate safety guidelines to prevent accidents, and the hiring and retaining of employees unable to create and maintain a safe working environment.

For workers who have been injured in a workplace accident, and-or their families, it is also important to understand that workers’ compensation may not be the only source of benefits to cover the loss

In addition to claiming workers’ compensation benefits, an injured worker or his-her family may also consider seeking additional monetary damages from a liable third-party. When a worker is

Brooklyn Child With High Levels Of Toxic Lead Causes Concern

Children living in older homes with chipping or peeling paint may be at risk for lead poisoning.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), lead in paint is one of the most hazardous sources of lead poisoning for children. In 1978, lead was outlawed in paint nationally. However, it appears some New Yorkers still have cause for concern. A mother was recently alarmed when tests reviewed by her daughter’s pediatrician revealed that her 2-year-old had dangerous levels of toxic lead in her blood.

The mom suspected that the source of the lead poisoning was the paint in her public housing apartment. Tests of Helen Jackson’s home by city health officials showed she might be right. However, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) officials insisted she was not, reported the New York Daily News (4.13.15).

Many poorly maintained old buildings contain lead paint which may be flaking off of the walls. When the toxic lead is ingested or inhaled by a child it can be extremely dangerous. The NYDN reported that Jackson’s husband caught their daughter “eating paint chips off the floor near their TV just a few weeks back.”

According to the pediatrician, Jackson’s child had a blood-lead level close to four times the acceptable level. Lead paint can pose a serious health risk to children. Among the effects of lead poisoning listed by the Mayo Clinic are learning problems; developmental delays; hearing loss; abdominal pain; slowed growth; damage to the brain, kidneys and nervous system; seizures, and possibly death.

The New York Daily News reported that hundreds of city children still test positive each year for blood-lead levels considered dangerous. In 2012, the last year of available data, five New York City children were identified as having blood-lead levels so high they required hospitalization. A total of 923 children under six years of age tested positive for lead poisoning. Lead is harmful to developing fetuses and

UPS Driver Seriously Injured After Car Crushes His Legs Against Truck

Delivery truck drivers often have to navigate busy streets, making this job a lot more dangerous than it may seem.

Given the nature of their jobs, delivery truck drivers are at risk of being involved in vehicular accidents. There are a number of reasons for this. Drivers are often required to deliver packages quickly, especially the workers employed by businesses that promise “same-day” and “overnight” deliveries. Drivers may engage in distracted driving when looking for the next building for delivery. Changing routes or driving unfamiliar routes can also make the job more challenging. Truck drivers may also get hit by another vehicle when in the process of making a delivery.

A UPS driver making his regular deliveries on Staten Island was maimed when he was crushed against his truck by a car swerving to avoid a jaywalker, reported the New York Post (4.6.15). Tom Ryan, 40, was unloading packages when he was hit by a Toyota. The crash ripped off one of his legs off and left the other “hanging by a thread.”

Witnesses may have saved the driver’s life by using a shirt as a tourniquet to stanch the bleeding. The New York Post reported that Ryan was in serious condition and was “going to live.”

The driver of the Toyota told police that he was trying to avoid a pedestrian when he swerved and hit the UPS driver. Allegedly, the pedestrian was crossing against the traffic light.

Truck drivers and a group called driver/sales workers by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) together ranked as the seventh most dangerous profession in 2013. In the same year, more delivery people died on the job than any other vocation. In fact, transportation-related incidents were the top cause of on-the-job fatalities across all job categories, accounting for 40% of deaths, according to the BLS.

Delivery truck drivers also have a higher risk of injuries due to lifting and moving heavy

Midtown Construction Accident Injures Four Workers

Falls are one of the top four causes of construction fatalities.

 

Falls at construction sites are the leading cause of death within the industry. Every day, on average, two construction workers die in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Construction workers have fallen off edges of all types, from roofs to scaffolding to balconies.

In midtown Manhattan, four construction workers were injured when a railing collapsed in an empty commercial building in Manhattan. The workers were doing interior demolition work near an open stairway on the mezzanine level of the building before they fell, reported CBS News (4.7.15).

The workers, whose names were not reported, were trying to remove a chandelier on the ceiling. While working, they used hooks to secure the lighting fixture. However, the four-foot marble banister on the mezzanine floor used to leverage the workers gave way and collapsed,” said Alexander Schnell with the NYC Dept. of Buildings in the CBS News story. The workers then fell from a height of about two stories. The chandelier collapsed, as did part of a heavy marble banister. Some of the debris came down on top of the four workers.

The cause of the collapse was being investigated. Battalion Chief Tom Mara said that all construction would be halted at the site.

In 2013, there were 294 fall-related deaths (284 falls to lower level) out of 796 total fatalities in construction, reported the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). All these falls in construction could likely have been prevented. The best way to prevent construction accidents is to plan and anticipate problems before they happen. Falls can be prevented when workers are properly trained and understand the safe use of equipment. Workers should also be trained in hazard recognition.

In New York, Labor Law 240 governs the rights of construction workers who are injured in gravity related accidents. Injuries may be caused by