Articles Posted in Bodily Injury

A recent study suggests that marijuana use may cause fatal car accidents. The study, released by JAMA Internal Medicine, found there were more fatalities and car accidents on April 20, a “holiday” of sorts for cannabis enthusiasts, compared to the same period of time a week beforehand and a week afterward. This study comes on the heels of an increasing push by legislators and public policy experts to determine the effects of marijuana on driving habits, and consequently, to establish an objective standard for measuring intoxication by the drug.

To measure the effect of marijuana on car accidents, the researchers gathered data on car accidents on April 13, April 20, and April 27. April 20 is widely “celebrated” by marijuana users, and 4:20 PM on that day is traditionally regarded as a time to imbibe on the once-illicit drug. Consequently, researchers looked at the number of car accidents between 4:20 PM and midnight on April 20 and compared the results to the statistics during the same time period a week earlier and a week later.  The researchers compared the data over a 25-year period and in several different locations throughout the country. The results showed a 12 percent overall increase in fatal accidents between 4:20 PM and midnight on April 20. Further, the increase in car accidents was particularly notable in drivers under the age of 20. New York, along with Texas and Georgia, saw the sharpest increase in fatal car accidents on April 20.

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After a helicopter crashed into the East River last month and killed five passengers, the victims’ families and politicians are looking for answers to how the tragic accident  occurred. The deadly helicopter crash was part of a photo tour of New York City’s skyline, an increasingly popular tourist activity. Like most other scenic tours of Manhattan, the helicopter had its doors removed. As a consequence, the helicopter’s occupants used a unique safety system involving a snug harness that was tethered to the interior of the chopper. While this prevents the tour’s patrons from falling out of the helicopter mid-flight, it can also create a tragic disaster in the event of a helicopter crash because the harness, in the words of one of the victim’s family, becomes a “death trap.”

According to the New York Times, the helicopter’s engine began to fail near Midtown Manhattan. The pilot said he immediately told all five passengers to return to their seats – all of whom were apparently free to walk around because their harnesses were tethered to the helicopter. According to the pilot, one of the passengers was taking a photograph while dangling off the side of the helicopter, a so-called “shoe selfie”, when the engine lights began to indicate danger. On its website, the helicopter tour company, FlyNYON, advertises “dangling your feet for a #shoeselfie.”

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A Queens mom has sued New York City for a missing stop sign that caused the Uber she was riding in to crash, injuring herself and her one-month-old son. The mother, Oddeth Davidson, was traveling with her infant son, Kaiden Brown, in a ride-share vehicle when another car T-boned the Uber in Cambria Heights at the intersection of 225th street and 120th Avenue on January 11, according to the New York Post. According to the lawsuit, the Department of Transportation’s negligence in failing to replace the stop sign, which had allegedly been missing for several months, caused the accident and should, therefore, be responsible for the damages.

In total, Davidson is suing for $45 million in damages – $30 million for her child’s injuries, $10 million for her own injuries, and $5 million for the anticipated costs of caring for her brain-damaged child. The car accident left the young infant with traumatic brain injuries, seizure disorder, and a neck injury from the crash, according to the New York Post. “He is under the care of a neurosurgeon and a pediatric neurologist. This could be catastrophic and affect him for the rest of his life,” Davidson said of her infant child.

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The family of Isaac Ward, the 27-year-old man killed in a drunken car crash by a New Rochelle police officer, filed a lawsuit against the cop and the three bars that over-serving the police officer in January 2017. Penelope Ward, Isaac Ward’s mother, said the police officer, Harry Kyreakede, and three local bars – Brazen Fox, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ in White Plains, and Celtic Corner in Dobbs Ferry – should be held responsible for the death of her child because of their “negligence, recklessness, and carelessness.”

drunk-driving-300x150Kyreakede was sentenced last year to two-and-a-half to seven years in prison for driving while under the influence last month. A full two hours after the car crash, Kyreakede blood alcohol content, or BAC, was 0.20 percent – more than two times the legal limit of 0.08 percent in New York state. Continue reading

hidden-camera-300x204A Port Authority employee filed a lawsuit alleging that she was secretly videotaped during a medical exam. The employee, Charlene Talarico, said the incident happened during an exam in August 2016. Talarico is suing for unspecified damages, according to the lawsuit filed in a Manhattan federal court last week. Alleging emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other unspecified damages, Talarico is also asking the court to certify a class action on behalf of approximately 8,000 employees whose medical exams may also have been secretly recorded. According to the lawsuit, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey covertly records employees receiving medical care at all of its facilities.

Talarico, a senior administrative secretary, claims she was recorded without her permission while having her hand examined at the Port Authority’s medical office on Park Avenue.  While Talarico remained clothed for the entire exam period, the examination area had the same “privacy curtain” typically used in hospitals and doctor offices. Therefore, it is likely the video cameras set up in the examination areas also caught other patients while they were undressed. If Talarico’s allegations are true, the covert video recording would be a violation of the United States and New York constitutions – specifically, the federal healthcare privacy laws and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, according to the lawsuit. Continue reading

Over the last two years, 31 construction workers have died in New York City, an ominous downside to the city’s construction boom.  Critics of the lax regulations that have allowed construction sites to become so dangerous point to the decline of unions that once protected workers from hazardous conditions. According to the Department of Buildings, construction injuries increased by 250 percent between 2011 and 2015.

roof-work-300x200As evidence that the decline of unions has imperiled construction worker’s safety, the New York Times points out that 29 of the 31 deaths in the City over the last year were non-union construction workers. This sad statistic is not particularly surprising, though – according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) non-union contracts make up 90 percent of the “Severe Violator Enforcement Program,” an involuntary program for habitual and serious offenders. Continue reading

Two construction workers in Manhattan died within hours of each other in two separate accidents in September of this year.

In the first accident, two veteran construction workers fell while working on a 62-story mixed use building at 9th Avenue and 33rd Street. The men, both 45-years old, fell out of a bucket lift approximately 35 feet to the ground below. While they were wearing harnesses, other members of the construction team noted that they were apparently not attached to anything.

construction-fallMedical teams rushed one person to the hospital, where he recovered. Unfortunately, the other construction worker fell on his face and was pronounced dead at the scene. The names of the two workers in the midtown accident were not released to the press, pending an investigation by the Department of Buildings. Continue reading

revenge-porn-300x156New York City Council has unanimously passed legislation to ban so-called “revenge porn” in the five boroughs. The bill has a criminal portion that makes revenge porn punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of $1,000, or both. The bill also has a civil portion providing victims with the right to seek injunctions and damages. Still awaiting the Mayor’s signature, Mayor de Blasio has already signaled his willingness to sign the bill into law.

So-called “revenge porn” is when a formerly intimate partner chooses to spread illicit photographs of their former lover without their permission, typically on the internet. The unfortunate phenomenon has taken off in recent years thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones, email and picture messaging and, according to CNN, one-in-eight internet users have been the victim of revenge porn. As a result, 38 states and Washington, D.C. ban the cruel form of retribution.

The new law will have both a civil portion which will come into law immediately and a criminal portion which will come into law 60 days later. The law will give individuals permission to seek injunctions against former lovers, as well as seek compensatory and punitive damages against the person. Compensatory damages are a monetary measure of what the person has actually suffered, such as medical bills or lost wages. Punitive damages, on the other hand, are amounts over and beyond what the person has actually suffered. Juries generally award punitive damages to “send a message” to the plaintiff. Victims of revenge porn may also be awarded attorney’s fees. Continue reading

Parents of a victim lost to the terrorist attack on one of Lower Manhattan’s bike trails has filed a notice of their intent to sue New York City. The parents of Darren Drake state that New York designed a bike path that was unsafe for people to use. According to them, New York should have foreseen the possibility of a terrorist attack and not allowed the terrorist to have “unfettered” access to the bike path. According to the family, this was “grossly negligent” of the city and its various departments.

bikeBike lanes and bike-sharing programs have shot-up across the world in recent decades. Possibly fueled by urbanite’s increased enthusiasm for exercise and the environment in recent decades, New Yorkers know that the best part of biking is how quickly it can get you somewhere. As bike lanes and Citi Bike’s ridership have skyrocketed in the city over the last few years, the lawsuits have, perhaps predictably, followed. Continue reading

After a Central Park tree fell on top of a woman, causing significant injuries to her and one of her children, she is now planning to sue the city.  After filing notice with the city, an important and time-sensitive measure whenever seeking to sue a municipality or city in New York, the mother, Anne Goldman, raised concerns about how the city maintains the parks in New York’s most famous park.

tree-fallingThe amazing story took place near 62nd Street on the west side of the park. Goldman was walking with her three young children. Then, according to Goldman, she sacrificed her own safety to protect her children as the giant tree fell on the path.  Goldman’s injuries were the most horrific and the first responders at the scene said she was in and out of consciousness when they arrived. According to her lawyer, she is “not allowed to move her neck for at least two to three months… She can’t pick up her baby, she can’t breast-feed, she can’t do her job.” Goldman says she is in immense pain and her life has been turned “upside down.” Doctors are not sure if she will ever be able to walk normally again. Continue reading

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