Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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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In a tragic crash, an autonomous vehicle killed a pedestrian last week in Arizona. The self-driving car was driving 38 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone, according to the New York Times. The Governor of Arizona has halted all self-driving car demonstrations throughout the state until an investigation is completed.

Previously, Arizona has been at the forefront of self-driving vehicles with its permissive laws and flat, dry landscape. In 2017, Governor Doug Ducey declared the state a “regulation-free” zone for companies interested in testing autonomous vehicles. “We needed our message to Uber, Lyft and other entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley to be that Arizona was open to new ideas,” Gov. Ducey said at the time. When an Uber vehicle collided with another vehicle back in March, the Arizona Governor downplayed the significant, describing the accident as the fault of the other driver. Last month Gov. Ducey issued another executive order permitting cars on the streets without a human behind the wheel, the first state in the country.

However, that changed on Sunday, March 18 when a Volvo XC90 owned by the ride-sharing company Uber struck a woman with a bicycle who walked in front of the vehicle in Tempe, Arizona. The car also had a human driver behind the wheel, who was apparently unable to see the pedestrian either. The weather was clear and dry.

Cindy Frey, the widow of late Eagle’s co-founder Glenn Frey, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mt. Sinai hospital and physician Steven Itzkowitz. The lawsuit alleges the hospital and doctor were negligent in failing to properly diagnose and treat the health conditions that led to his untimely death in January 2016. Frey died at the age of 67 from complications resulting from rheumatoid arthritis, acute ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia, according to The Rolling Stone.

glen-frey-wrongful-death-300x158According to the lawsuit, Glenn Frey was under the care of the Upper East Side hospital and Dr. Itzkowitz between October 2015 and November 2015. The lawsuit alleges that a competent doctor, acting in similar circumstances, would have diagnosed and promptly treated the Eagles co-founder’s “ulcerative colitis and associated symptoms.” Ulcerative colitis is a form of irritable bowel disease. Further, the lawsuit filed in New York Supreme Court, the lowest court in the Empire State, a competent doctor would have assessed Frey’s respiratory problems – the ultimate cause of his death. Dr. Itzkowitz, according to the lawsuit, did not properly check for the problems, diagnose the infection, or hospitalize him. Continue reading

law-300x125Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have finally reached a deal on medical malpractice lawsuits relating to cancer diagnosis. Under the new law, cancer patients will be able to sue doctors and other medical professionals for a wrongful diagnosis or missed diagnosis of cancer for up to two-and-a-half years from the date the patient discovered, or should have discovered, the misdiagnosis.

There will, however, still be a limit on when these medical malpractice claims can be filed. Regardless of when the patient discovered or should have discovered the wrongful cancer diagnosis, the injured cancer patient will not be able to file a lawsuit once seven full years have passed after the doctor or other medical professional’s wrongful act. The new medical malpractice law will also be limited in two unique ways. First, it will only apply to a wrongful diagnosis of cancer or a missed diagnosis of cancer, other illnesses were not included in the final version of the bill. Second, while the law will apply retroactively in a severely limited manner – wrongly injured patients whose statute of limitations ran out in the previous ten months will only have six months to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in a New York Supreme Court. Continue reading

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

opioid-300x172Westchester County joins a growing list of states and municipalities suing the manufacturers and distributors of highly-addictive opioid medications, according to LoHud.com. The medication, once falsely marketed as a long-term solution for chronic pain, has ensnared communities across the nation as users became addicted and graduated to cheaper drugs, such as heroin, or more powerful – but legal – drugs, such as fentanyl. According to the New York State Department of Health, 143 Westchester and Rockland residents died of an opioid overdose in 2016 – an increase from 110 in just one year. Importantly, this estimate includes legal opioid-based drugs as well as illegal opioid drugs, such as heroin.

The Westchester lawsuit alleges that the makers of opioid-based medications, such as Percocet, Vicodin, and Oxycontin, intentionally misled the public about the dangers of the drugs, including the addictive potential. The makers and distributors of these drugs marketed the medication as a safe, long-term solution to chronic pain, with the knowledge that addiction and dependency were likely to follow for Americans prescribed these drugs. This reckless behavior is the center of Westchester County’s lawsuit against drug companies. Continue reading

Two New York City hospitals are being sued for the damages caused by the release of allegedly dangerous patients from their psychiatric wards. In the past month, two lawsuits have been filed against New York City hospitals alleging that the hospitals behaved in a negligent or careless manner when they released dangerous patients into the tri-state area. These patients then went on to physically attack the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

subway-push-victim-300x200The first case involves Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, where a Queens man is suing the hospital after one of its patients pushed her husband in front of a subway car last year. Tragically, the man’s wife died as a result of the fall. According to the lawsuit, Bellevue never should have released the patient, Melanie Liverpool-Turner. Liverpool-Turner, a diagnosed schizophrenic, was allegedly ranting about killing transit riders while on an involuntary psychiatric hold at the hospital, according to filings with a Manhattan Supreme Court. Continue reading

med-errorThe third leading cause of death in America is death by hospital error, according to Johns Hopkins’ Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality. Following heart disease and cancer, hospital errors account for around 440,000 deaths each year. That means that there are more than 1,000 preventable deaths in hospitals across America every day.  Given these findings, its perhaps unsurprising that for Americans over the age of 65 – there is a 14 percent chance hospital visit will make them sicker.

Lacking mandatory reporting requirements, these kinds of errors are not typically tracked by hospitals and consequently, have escaped scrutiny by public health advocates and government officials. Speaking to The Post Star, Matt Austin, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute, puts it more bluntly, “It tends to happen to a patient here, a patient there.” Continue reading

bronx-fire-300x198A month after one of New York’s deadliest fires in a quarter-century killed 13 people, the survivors and their families have sued the city. Eleven of the victims are seeking a combined $110 million from the Administration for Child Services Department (ACS) alleging that the mother of the child was known to the city’s welfare agency for her neglectful parenting, according to court documents. The victims allege that because the welfare agency knew of the mother’s subpar parenting skills, they should have taken steps to either remove the child from the mother or otherwise protect the residents of their building.

On December 27, 2017, a three-year-old child was playing with the fire that came off the stove-top burner when the deadly fire supposedly erupted.  According to the lawsuit, the child began playing with the knobs on the stove in the kitchen after his mother left him and his two-year-old sibling to watch TV while she took a shower. According to authorities, the mother said this was not the first time her son had played with the stove. Continue reading

Recent train and subway accidents have led to renewed attention to the 2013 Metro-North derailment that killed four and injured dozens. After an investigation by LoHud.com showed that the Metro-North Railroad still had not installed the required safety equipment to prevent another crash, Connecticut Senator Blumenthal and New York Senator Chuck Schumer called for the railroad to speed up its efforts.

derailment-300x225On December 1, 2013, a train on the Hudson Line of the Metro-North flew off the rails going 80 miles-per-hour on a turn with a speed limit of 30 mph. The engineer in control of the train, William Rockefeller, had apparently dozed off. In response to the accident, the National Transportation Safety Board released a report pointing towards an absence of “Positive Train Control” as a contributing factor in the accident. Continue reading

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