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At approximately 8:45 a.m., a New Jersey Transit Train making its way into the Hoboken terminal failed to slow down and come to a stop and crashed into the Hoboken station platform. Reports have shown severe structural damage at the terminal, including the partial collapse of the roof. More than 50,000 people use the Hoboken terminal daily.

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Over 100 injuries and 3 fatalities have been reported as a result of the accident. An urban search-and-rescue team has been deployed to help remove trapped individuals from the train. More than 20 ambulances arrived at the terminal to take injured passengers to area hospitals. New Jersey transit spokeswoman Jennifer Nelson stated that the train carried approximately 250 passengers.

Leav & Steinberg has successfully represented an individual who was a passenger in an MTA bus that crashed into another MTA bus, both while driving in the Holland tunnel several years ago. An action was maintained against the City of New York for the negligence of the operators of the buses in causing the accident.

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Around 7 A.M. this morning, New York’s Bravest responded to a 911 call for an odor of gas in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx. It turned out that the home was being used as an illegal marijuana grow house. The house exploded causing flying debris to strike an FDNY Batallion Chief, mortally wounding him. The 17-year fire veteran leaves behind a wife and three children.

Also injured in the blast were nine firefighters, six police officers, three ConEd workers, and two civilians.

The owner of the house rather inexplicably states that he knew little about the renters and what they were doing; he claims that no one told him an illegal drug operation was being run from his property. Neighbors profess that there were shady things going on at the property which was always surrounded by luxury cars, unlike in years past, when college kids would rent the property.

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TI Rap concert
As we reported previously here on May 30th, 2016 Leav & Steinberg, LLP was retained by several individuals who sustained serious and significant injuries at the T.I. Rap Concert.

For many excited concerts goers and fans, the night of May 25, 2016, was supposed to be filled with fun and music at rap artist, T.I.’s, New York concert held at Irving Plaza. Unfortunately, due to inadequate security measure and substandard emergency protocol, violence and gun fire erupted during the show inside New York’s famous music venue tragically leaving one person dead and others seriously injured.

Two of our clients at Leav and Steinberg, LLP were at the T.I concert at Irving Plaza to have fun and enjoy the show at the time of the shooting. They could have never expected that moments later they would be fleeing for their lives. At some point during the show, gun fire inside Irving Plaza sparked mayhem and chaos which quickly combined with overcrowded conditions that spread throughout the venue causing patrons inside the venue to flee to the nearest exits.

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Ladder accident
On August 10, 2012, while climbing down a ladder at work our client was caused to fall when the ladder tipped over as a result of being placed on wet Masonite. On the date of the accident the client was a 33 year old non-union electrical worker.  He left the job site by cab but upon arriving home he was in such excruciating pain he went to the Emergency Room.  He was admitted and diagnosed with a fracture to his pelvis and a herniation to his lower back.  The client tried to treat conservatively with physical therapy.  In February of 2013 the client attempted to return to work but due to his pain he was forced to go back out on Workers Compensation.   A former client of Leav & Steinberg, who knew the plaintiff from the neighborhood was discussing his accident and pointed out that he should speak with an attorney and recommended Leav & Steinberg given the success we had for him in the past.  After this meeting, the client contacted our office and retained us.

Leav & Steinberg, LLP immediately filed a lawsuit alleging Labor Law Sections 240(1) and 241(6), specifically Rule 23 Section 1-21(b)(4)(ii). Over the course of the next two years the client was required to undergo two surgeries; (1) for a torn labrum in his hip and (2) a lumbar fusion in order to stabilize the vertebrae at L4-5.  Leav & Steinberg, LLP completed discovery and had the matter placed on the trail calendar less than 3 years after the date of accident.  The parties participated in Mediation where an offer of $1,500,000.00 was made.  Upon the legal advice of Leav & Steinberg, LLP this offer was rejected by the client.  A motion was also made by Daniela F. Henriques, Esq., for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability pursuant to Labor Law Section 240(1).  The motion was still pending on the date of the settlement.  The defendants’ position on the motion was that the accident was caused solely by the decision of the plaintiff to use equipment that was not safe and not secured.

In light of the fact that the trial was scheduled for October, 2016, the defendant’s again requested that we participate in a second non-binding mediation.   They further argued that the client had made a good recovery and that his work history was sporadic.  In addition, they argued that given his intelligence and other skills he could return to employment and earn an equal salary; even if not as an electrician.

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August 30, 2016 was a deadly night in Queens and the Bronx.  A tragic collision occurred on the Long Island Expressway in Queens.  According to the New York Post, the multiple fatality and multiple vehicle collision may have been caused by drag racing.  See article here.  Meanwhile, in the Bronx, a pedestrian was killed after being struck by two vehicles while crossing Bronxdale Avenue at the intersection of Bronxdale Avenue and Barnes Avenue.  The first of the two vehicles to strike the pedestrian fled the scene.  See article here.  Unfortunately, all too often in collisions like this there is inadequate insurance to compensate the injured victims and the families of the decedents.  In New York State, the minimum insurance required is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident.  If you own an automobile check with your insurance carrier to find out about Supplemental Uninsured Motorist coverage to protect your interests in the event you are in a collision with a vehicle that has inadequate coverage.

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A group of kayakers being led on a guided tour on the Hudson River were struck by a ferry boat yesterday evening. Five kayakers were injured, one nearly had their arm severed, when a ferry operated by NY Waterway was leaving Pier 79 on its way toward Wall Street.

Ten kayakers in nine boats were on a routine tour when the ferry pilot failed to see them as he left the pier. Police are determining whether the pilot was blinded by glare before knocking the kayakers into the water.

NY Waterway operates ferry service for New York and New Jersey residents. The owner of the kayak company stated that the guided tour has been done hundreds of times.

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Sidewalk
When Lt. Brendan Connolly a New York City Firefighter was responding to a local emergency, the dangers of being a firefighter were always in the back of his mind.  Smoke, trapped locations, innocent victims needing help.

However, the roads of New York City are often so dilipadated and filled with potholes and ruts that when his fire truck hit a recurring defect in a city street of Cypress Hills, Queens his life would change forever.

As reported here in the New York Post, Lt. Connolly fractured his spine and has been rendered disabled from working because of a sinkhole that has been recurring.  Neighbors report that this problem has been recurring for years.  Yet, the ability to legally recover against the City of New York for this defect is fraught with many hurdles.  Some nearly impossible to overcome.

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summer camp
As the summer is winding down, I was thankful that my three kids will be returning home from sleep away camp this weekend.  Seven weeks of organized fun, controlled environment with loving and caring counselors and directors to make sure that my kids and others are safe.  As a personal injury lawyer, I am always concerned about the safety of individuals and was thinking of some of the recent camp cases my firm has handled.

When you sign up to send your child to camp, you are entrusting them with the duty to provide your child with a safe and reasonable environment.  Camp activities include, sports, waterfront activities, art, music, as well as many intercamp Olympics and color war.  Some of the greatest memories kids have are those made during these summers.

Yet, many camps fail to provide the most basic when it comes to reasonable care for the safety of its children.  Recently, I represented a young boy who was at a camp.  They had a banana boat ride.  Many of you may know that this is the ride where 4-5 kids sit on a banana shaped tube and a motor boat pulls the kids.  The goal was usually a fun ride along the lake.  Of course, the counselors and probably the kids, in an effort to make it more “exciting”, have the motor boat drive in a way to cause the banana boat to twist and turn in the wake and knock the kids into the lake.  Seems harmless.  Well it would be if you provided the kids with safety rules and guidelines.  What if the child sitting in the front of the boat, closest to the rope, is not given any hand signals in which to convey that they are not feeling safe or feel like they may fall forward into the rope towards the engine of the boat pulling the banana float.  The sound of the engine and the noise from the movement is such that you cant verbally communicate.  Such was the case and my client suffered a severe laceration (over 100 sutures) from his shoulder around his arm onto his forearm.  This left a lasting scar and permanent residual problems.  Leav & Steinberg, LLP was able to prove that the activity was being performed in a dangerous way with inadequate supervision and training of the counselors and a lack of communication with the campers.   Though the camp felt this was not a case, we were successful in proving otherwise and resulted in a significant award for the child and a recovery of his medical bills.

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Tesla Logo
As an attorney representing car accident victims quite often, the recent news of two Tesla vehicles that crashed while in self-driving or autonomous driving mode raised a lot of questions.  From the attorney perspective, we are taught to evaluate an accident applying two major elements.  The first element is negligence, a two prong question.  First, d id the operator of a motor vehicle, operate his or her car in a way that was unreasonable under the circumstances.  The failure to operate your car in a reasonable manner is the first element of negligence.  The second element is proving that that failure, was a substantial factor or proximate cause of the accident.  The lines are blurred when we consider modern technology.  We must now consider whether the vehicle itself was negligent.

Tesla advises all of its owners that it’s autopilot feature DOES NOT mean that the vehicle is operating itself.  However, all marketing and news stories are describing the benefits of placing the car in autopilot mode and allowing the car and its sensors to sense the road and vehicles and obstructions around it.  Given this dichotomy, one must ask if the warning given is sufficient to free Tesla of any responsibility.

Joshua Brown’s death was the first reported death while operating a vehicle in autopilot mode.  This month, his vehicle collided with an 18 wheeler when the autopilot feature and the surrounding sun glare did not allow the vehicle’s autopilot features to react in a reasonable and timely manner.  The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating this accident with a focus on fault of the vehicle’s autopilot features.

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Earlier today, a crane collapsed across the span of the Tappan Zee Bridge resulting in injuries to at least three people as they swerved to avoid fallen debris. The crane collapse has caused a shutdown of the outdated and structurally insufficient bridge wreaking havoc on traffic in the area. The bridge is closed indefinitely.

The crane was being used in the construction efforts of a new Tappan Zee Bridge. The construction project, a $4 billion endeavor, has already seen several other major incidents resulting in deaths. In March, a 90-foot tugboat sank after it hit a construction barge near the bridge site, killing three crew members. In 2013, a powerboat plowed into a construction barge at the bridge, killing a bride-to-be and her fiancé’s best man.

There has been no shortage in crane accidents in the recent past, and despite the high stakes of these construction projects and the obvious need for safety, these accidents continue to happen. The engineers and contractors who are responsible for the placement, operation, management, inspection and control of these cranes must uphold their duty to ensure that these types of accidents don’t occur.