New York, New York - As the holiday season approaches, it's sobering to see traffic accident statistics for 2016 compared with 2015. With the increase in vehicle collisions from last year, injuries and deaths are up as a result, especially for pedestrians and cyclists.
A woman pushing a baby stroller was crossing 46th Ave. at 111th Street in Queens on Nov. 15 when she was struck by a Q23 bus that pinned her briefly under its front wheels. She was injured critically and rushed to Elmhurst Hospital Center by paramedics. The stroller was not hit, and her 3-year-old daughter was unharmed. Pedestrian accidents involving city buses in New York City are far too numerous to go unnoticed.
The city previously had designated this area as a priority corridor needing improved safety pursuant to Mayor DeBlasio's Vision Zero Plan. Just last month the city initiated a plan to add a bike lane, remove a driving lane and expand the curbs on 111th Street. Studies have verified the dangerousness of the type of traffic pattern involved here, i.e., where the pedestrian is crossing properly in a crosswalk and the bus is turning right onto the same street.
Two more construction workers were added to the list of courageous men and women who have given their lives in the performance of their work duties in New York City's construction industry. The accident happened on Nov. 22 at a residential housing complex that was under construction in Queens. A crane was carrying a 6,500-pound I-beam to place it on the fourth floor when the cable mechanism snapped and the beam was dropped onto the area of the crane, killing the worker in the cab and the worker who had been guiding the beam. This was the most recent in a long line of construction accidents that have plagued city workers for decades.
The casualties from construction work in the city, coming at a time of high-volume building projects, is expected to rise to some extent. However, contentiousness between union and non-union work camps has flamed the fires of publicity over the intensity and regularity of the accidents. Union officials who visited the non-union site where the two men died expressed the view that the owner at the site was putting profits ahead of safety.
Sickeningly, this story is becoming all too familiar. Yet another fatal crane accident took place in New York City on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, highlighting once again the tremendous dangers that construction workers face on a daily basis.
"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." - Benjamin Franklin
This old saying applies to many things in life and unsafe working conditions are no exception.
It is crucial for employers to follow all applicable workplace safety guidelines, placing the wellbeing of their employees ahead of the desire to cut corners to generate profits.
But what can workers do when their employers fail to uphold their end of the workplace safety bargain?
Our thoughts and prayers are with the more than dozen people who were injured in Monday morning's crash at the intersection of South Road and Waltham Street in Jamaica Queens. Reportedly, just before noon at that intersection, two oversized vehicles collided - a flatbed lumber truck and an MTA bus. The driver of the 'Metropolitan Lumber and Hardware Home' truck was quoted, after the accident, as defending himself by accusing the bus driver of speeding. It should be noted that the truck driver himself apparently faced a stop sign at the intersection. Of course, the most important consideration here is the health of the 14 bus passengers, and the truck driver himself, who were all reportedly taken to local hospitals from the scene by emergency services. We wish everyone involved a speedy and full recovery. This accident certainly appears to be one in which the two drivers will blame each other for its happening. Unless the accident was captured on video, determining who is at fault, which could rest with one or both of these drivers, will not easily be ascertained. A timely investigation will be very important, in order to collect and effectively analyze physical evidence and potential witness accounts before they change or disappear. That is one of the reasons why it is absolutely critical to hire a qualified personal injury law firm promptly following any accident in which you may have been hurt. Our firm has worked on countless cases where we have had to evaluate and ultimately prove liability against the operators of large trucks and buses. Our experience helps us know what experts to hire, what questions to ask and where to look to uncover information that will be helpful to our cause, which is to help our clients by holding those persons or companies that are responsible for their injuries fully accountable. The experienced trial lawyers at Block O'Toole & Murphy have recovered nearly $1 Billion for our clients through years of substantial verdicts and settlements. The firm's clients include victims of bus and truck accidents, construction site and on the job injuries, and other acts of negligence. You can always reach Block O'Toole & Murphy's team of accident lawyers by calling (212) 736-5300 for a free consultation. Or visit our website.
The usual rule that a worker cannot sue his or her employer for negligence and civil damages does have exceptions in New York City and other localities. When the employer is guilty of egregious wrongdoing, the courts generally have the discretion to allow a recovery by the employee against the employer. However, for the most part, the recovery of economic damages in construction accidents, which is over and above the limited amounts available from workers' compensation, is accomplished by pursuing a claim against a third party other than the employer.
There are numerous potential defendants that may participate on construction jobs. There may be property owners, other contractors, developers, engineers and others who may be brought in as defendants in a personal injury tort claim on behalf of the injured or dead worker. A Staten Island workplace tragedy that occurred two years ago is an example.
A little over a week out from the end of daylight savings time, you've probably heard your friends, family members or coworkers utter the following:
- Why do we even have daylight savings time? I don't see any farms around here.
- Ugh. It's getting dark so early now. It just makes me want to sleep.
- Spent half the day adjusting clocks and still ended up late for my appointment.
These are the typical complaints and we will all be over the time change soon. Unfortunately, the misfortunes that befall some after the time change are more permanent. Studies show a rise in fatal pedestrian accidents in the days and weeks after a daylight savings-related time change.