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Tag Archives: dangerous condition

Negligence? Why is New York getting hit so hard with COVID-19?

New York – Various theories abound as to why the New York City area is at the epicenter of the novel coronavirus 2019 pandemic. Thousands of COVID-19 victims have already died and up to several hundred thousand more New Yorkers are confirmed to have been infected with the dangerous virus. Citizens and workers have been concerned as to why the area has been hit so hard and wonder what should be done about it. One possibility is that employers and businesses have been negligent in properly disinfecting surfaces and equipment in the workplace. Improper cleaning of desks, phones, doorknobs and files may be linked to spread of the dangerous disease. This has many concerned for their health and welfare, especially for those workers who are being required to come into work every day. Office workers, maintenance staff, factory workers and essential workers such as doctors, nurses and ancillary hospital staff can be at risk for contracting and spreading coronavirus according to research. Workplace safety experts say that it is the responsibility of employers and management to provide for a safe work environment and to prevent a hazardous situation for both workers and customers alike. They express concern for the lack of safety equipment, personal protective supplies and disinfection control in places ranging from hospitals and doctor’s offices to everyday places such as offices, warehouses and supermarkets. Important things to look out for when assessing this include: Does the business provide gloves or face masks? Approved and safe cleaning and disinfectant supplies? Cleaning crews that are licensed and follow best practices? Does the store require customers and workers to wear face masks? Do they enforce social distancing guidelines to prevent people from coughing or sneezing on others? Some have pointed out that negligent cleaning can be similar in concept to negligent maintenance that creates a health risk and dangerous condition for others. Imagine if a store refused to clean up a slippery spill in the middle of an aisle and along comes an unsuspecting shopper that suffers a slip and fall accident as a result. Is this all part of the cause of the rapid and dangerous spread of COVID-19 in New York? See this article for more about the New York outbreak of coronavirus.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: sergio santos [License]

George Washington Bridge driver suffers head injury from flying debris

New York – A piece of metal went flying through the air and slammed into the windshield of a car, causing a serious head injury to the driver. It is unclear about where exactly the metal debris fell from but it is believed that the metal broke off from or flew out of the back of a dump truck. Falling debris has long been a concern of drivers on busy highways, especially for those travelling behind construction vehicles, dump trucks and garbage trucks that often transport dangerous garbage and loose debris. If the load is not properly contained or tied down, the combination of high speeds, wind and bumpy roads with potholes can be a recipe for disaster. In addition, there is concern that this piece of metal may have broken off of a truck that underwent improper maintenance. However, some feel that this metal object could have been kicked up from the ground after the truck struck a piece of roadside garbage. This dangerous condition requires constant cleaning of garbage and debris from public roadways by state and local government staff to prevent a car crash or injury such as this.

The driver of the car that was hit by the object was rushed from the scene by ambulance to a trauma center. He suffered a severe head injury with possible traumatic brain injury (TBI) according to injury specialists. Doctors will need to perform additional testing, including CAT scan and possible MRI scans to further evaluate the car accident victim’s condition. A TBI can cause mild problems such as a simple concussion with post-concussion symptoms like headaches, dizziness and memory problems. However, more serious cases can include loss of consciousness, vomiting, visual disturbances and even intracranial bleeding. The latter problem of a brain bleed may necessitate emergency neurosurgery. All of these types of TBI can lead to permanent injury and even disability. See this article for more about this truck accident on the George Washington Bridge in New York City.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Keith [License]

Concerns regarding possible delayed recall of defective car seat

Potentially dangerous defective child car seats were recalled by the manufacturer several months after the company performed its own collision safety tests. Federal investigators have now been examining whether the manufacturer of the seats possibly delayed reporting the defective product and instituting the recall. Guidelines require companies to report safety problems within five days to the appropriate government agency, in this case the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. However, evidence has shown that the business that produced the child restraint system had information several months earlier about the dangerous condition. This was based on safety problems that were evident on quality and safety testing that the company had conducted on the seats during a car accident. Product liability is a responsibility that manufacturers and distributors must take seriously. Concerned parents and safety advocates have voiced concerns regarding the situation, saying that this breech of public trust leaves the public in danger. Some have pointed out that negligent reporting of safety problems must be dealt with harshly. The potential dangers in this case could include head injuries leading to traumatic brain injury, internal organ bleeding, fractures and nerve injury. You can refer to this article for more about the car seat safety product recall.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Photo Credit: Tetris L [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons

Takata airbag manufacturer pleads guilty to fraud

The world’s largest vehicle airbag recall was sparked after, analysts say, the Takata manufacturer fraudulently claimed that their airbags were safe. However, the company now admits that they knew for many years that there was a defective part that could cause the device to explode. This, in turn, could lead to a more serious and deadly injury from a car accident. The company has produced tens of millions of dangerous airbags that have been installed by motor vehicle manufacturers around the world. Everything from cars to SUVs to trucks have dangerous airbag components made by this company and have been recalled. The guilty plea by Takata comes along with an agreement to pay a hefty $1 Billion in fines and penalties. However, this money is not earmarked to go to the injury victims and families of victims killed in a car crash that may have been affected by the hazardous situation. A top injury law firm in New York explains that this doesn’t shield the manufacturer or others from a personal injury lawsuit. In fact, it has been noted that some of the car companies allegedly knew about the dangerous condition posed by the defective airbag problem but continued to install them anyway. This opens those car makers to injury and wrongful death lawsuit as well, according to experts. Product liability laws describe the actions that should be taken by all involved to ensure that consumers aren’t injured by a product that is known to be potentially dangerous. You can find out more about this product recall and repercussions here.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Robin Corps [License]

Are Suffolk County’s red-light cameras causing more accidents with injuries?

New York – Public safety activists are in an uproar about an ongoing investigation that shows an increased accident with injuries risk at intersections equipped with red-light cameras. Lawmakers and citizens alike have expressed concerns regarding the dangerous condition created by these traffic light cameras. They note that some of the traffic signals have faster-than-normal yellow lights and confusing signals, creating a risk for injury due to car accidents that inevitably follow. In the meantime, Suffolk County officials claim that the camera program is fine and plan to continue with it, despite the public safety concerns involved. Opponents question why the program isn’t suspended until they, at least, investigate the increased car crash concerns. They explain that this would allow the time to safely look into the issues and prevent injury or wrongful death accidents. One theory as to why there is an increased accident risk at these intersections revolves around concerned motorists who become afraid of getting a ticket, instead of remaining focused on driving safely. Experts say that drivers may needlessly brake too soon or too quickly, leading to a rear-end collision. Others may become a distracted driver when looking at the camera instead of the road.

Some community activists in New York have claimed that the local county government is simply being greedy and unwilling to give up the revenue that they receive from traffic tickets. The fines associated with these tickets goes to the government’s coffers and is shared with the company that installed and maintains the cameras. This creates a possible incentive for some politicians to keep the cameras functioning even in light of the risk of injury or death. However, this may actually lead to increased personal injury lawsuits, which would be much more costly if lawmakers neglect to deal with the hazardous condition that they’ve created. Motor vehicle accident victims are encouraged to seek legal advice from a top injury lawyer to determine their rights. You can see a video and read more about the controversial traffic light program and investigation here.

Illustrative Photo Credit: Dave Dugdale, www.rentvine.com [License]

$297,500 Pre-Trial Settlement for Injuries From a Trip and Fall Accident in Queens

New York — This 88-year-old trip and fall victim claimed that his injuries were caused by negligent maintenance on the part of the owners of the driveway where the accident occurred. The elderly man’s fall injuries included a hip injury and wrist fracture. The man came to the injury lawyer experts of Morrison & Wagner and together, they filed a negligence lawsuit. In a pre-trial settlement they recovered $297,500 for the injury victim.

Illustrative Photo (Altered to obscure license plate): Alan Stanton [License]

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Damaged driveway a hazard, plaintiff claimed (VerdictSearch)

Settlement Amount: $297,500

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Court: Queens Supreme, Queens County, New York

Injury Type(s): hip – fracture; other – loss of services; wrist – fracture

Case Type: Slips, Trips & Falls – Slips, Trips & Falls, Trip and Fall; Premises Liability – Dangerous Condition, Negligent Repair and/or Maintenance

Date: January 17, 2011

Plaintiff Attorney(s):
Stuart Wagner; Morrison & Wagner; New York, NY

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Facts:

On Feb. 19, 2010, the plaintiff, 88, tripped on the sidewalk apron of a driveway that was located on the east side of 66th Avenue, between its intersections at Queens Boulevard and Saunders Street, in the Rego Park section of Queens. He fell, and he sustained injuries of a hip and a wrist.

The injured plaintiff sued the 35 owners of the residences that had access to the driveway. He alleged that the homeowners were negligent in their maintenance of the driveway. He further alleged that the homeowners’ negligence created a dangerous condition that caused his accident.

The fall victim claimed that the driveway was damaged and hazardous.

The defense was coordinated by a claims adjuster of the insurer that represented a plurality of the defendants. The defense contended that the plaintiff had been crossing the driveway on a near-daily basis for years and thusly would have been aware of any defect. The defense also contended that any defect was caused by sanitation vehicles that regularly accessed the driveway.

Injury:

The injury victim sustained a fracture of his left hip and a fracture of his left, nondominant arm’s wrist. He claimed that he suffers permanent residual pain and limitations that greatly hinder his ambulation and his performance of many of his everyday activities. He sought recovery of damages for past and future pain and suffering. His wife sought recovery of damages for loss of services.

Result:

The parties negotiated a pretrial settlement. Each defendant’s insurer agreed to pay $8,500. Thus, the settlement totaled $297,500.

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Judge: Valerie Brathwaite Nelson

Editor’s Comment: This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. VerdictSearch was unable to solicit feedback from defense counsel.

Repeat dog attack in Brooklyn leaves questions about citizen safety

New York – Another pit bull attack occurred in a residential neighborhood of Brooklyn. This time the assault was on another dog but only a few years ago the attack was on a restaurant owner at the same residence. In the 2010 episode, the worker suffered severe injuries during the attack, when three pit bull dogs belonging to the same home owner lunged at the victim. The man was mauled by the dogs and taken to the emergency room for bite and crush injuries. Citizens in the city have expressed concern regarding the safety of people who live and work in the area. Some have asked why the dogs haven’t been taken away from their owner, saying that it’s negligent to allow them to continue to roam free after they have been known to injure people. They exclaim that pedestrians, bicyclists, workers, children, dog walkers and many others are at risk for being attacked by a dog. This constitutes a dangerous condition that puts everyone at risk or injury or death. The police have apparently determined that they can’t do anything since the assaults have taken place on private property. However, community activists warn that city officials, including police, bear some of the responsibility along with the dog owner who allows the dogs to roam around without a leash or muzzle. They note that the next dog attack victim may suffer even more injuries or even wrongful death. In the meantime, the public is being urged to file a civil lawsuit, such as a personal injury lawsuit, if they were injured by a dog. A victim who was bitten by a dog can speak to an experienced attorney to learn more about his or her rights. Find out more about this dangerous situation here.

Illustrative Photo Credit: BoostinChick [License]

$350,000 – Premises Liability – Slip & Fall Causes Ankle Fracture

When D. Kustov was 33 years old, she had a slip and fall accident while walking on private premises in Jamaica, New York. The accident caused her to break a bone in her ankle that required an open reduction internal fixation operation. The pain, swelling and difficulty walking remained and she was confined to bed for several weeks. Over that time, Ms. Kustov discussed her legal rights with the preeminent slip and fall injury lawyers of Morrison & Wagner, LLP in Manhattan. A grievance was filed against the property owner for negligent maintenance, along with a lawsuit for financial compensation. They asserted that the owner’s negligence created a dangerous condition that directly caused Kustov’s fall and injuries. After meticulous negotiation, the ankle injury victim won a settlement of $350,000 from the landlord of the property.

Read about more trip and fall cases here and here.

Photo by Wkc3 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Seat back failures during car crash can cause serious injuries

Research data shows that during a car accident, the back of the driver’s seat can break, causing severe injuries. The worrisome thing noted by experts is that this is true even of cars that meet the most current National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) guidelines. The concern involves not just the driver’s seat but also the seat back of the front passenger, according to specialists. They note that the problem is not limited to any one car manufacturer and is a well-known dangerous condition that has been ignored for way too long. The car seat failure often occurs during a rear-end accident where the vehicle is hit from behind. The force of the crash is transferred into the seat back which then buckles and cracks under the pressure. The person sitting in the seat is then violently thrown and injured, even when wearing a seatbelt. Common injuries can include spinal injury, paralysis and internal bleeding from lacerated organs. Activists familiar with the problem explain that passengers in the rear seat of the vehicle, often little children, are also prone to suffer severe injuries and wounds due to the defect. Children have been known to suffer facial injuries, head injury and even death after being struck by pieces of the seat. Cases have been documented of the headrest breaking off and striking the back seat passenger as well.

Car safety advocates have expressed outrage over the fact that the federal government and car makers haven’t properly fixed the hazard. They insist that the federal regulations must be changed to force factories to reinforce the seats so that they don’t collapse or snap during a high force impact of a motor vehicle collision. Some have pointed out that not doing so may be considered negligence and expose the negligent parties to accident lawsuits. You can read more about the weak federal safety standards and deadly problem here.

Illustrative Photo (Altered to obscure license plate): Joe Shlabotnik [License]

Dangerous furniture falls, killing children

New York – Product safety specialists have long warned about the dangerous condition caused by tall furniture that isn’t properly secured. Reports show that two children were crushed to death under heavy dresser drawers from Ikea, a popular furnishings retailer. The store has now issued repair kits to allow consumers to secure their furniture to various types of walls, in case they have not done so thus far. The wall anchor set will be issued for specific pieces of furniture that meet the criteria set by the business, as they are likely to fall over and injure or kill an unsuspecting person. Experts say that all furniture should be checked for safety or a fall hazard by manufacturers and stores before being sold. They note that proper instructions and equipment should be included with all products to ensure secure installation of the furniture. Ikea has included wall anchors with some of their products for several years but it is unclear if the specific units that caused the deaths of these kids had them included. Safety activists warn that the concern is not just regarding these specific accidents or even this specific company. Rather, they note, there are some companies that are more negligent when it comes to consumer safety than others. Explicit warning labels, instructions and equipment as well as constant after-market research is necessary by manufacturers and stores to prevent accidents, injuries and wrongful death. Effort must also be made to prevent heavy, unstable objects, such as a television set, being kept on furniture without proper safety precautions that prevent the object from being pulled or falling onto a victim. Businesses that do not do this may face a negligence lawsuit for manufacturing or selling a hazardous product. Additional information on this topic and the fatally injured children is available here.

Illustrative photo by: BeckyF [License]