Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

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The mourning family of Joan Rivers, who died on Thursday at 81-years old, bid her adieu on Saturday at a New Jersey crematorium. Her funeral service, which featured celebrities such as Hugh Jackman and Audra McDonald, was held on Sunday. Though she is gone, her legacy is not.

The sudden passing of Ms. Rivers raises legal questions that cannot be answered until the cause and manner of her death are conclusively determined. An investigation is underway on why a throat procedure that was supposed to be a routine and elective surgery resulted in cardiac and respiratory arrest then death. Medical malpractice has not been ruled out by the state health department. The medical examiner’s autopsy was inconclusive thus far, but additional testing is in the making.

Though Ms. Rivers was advanced in age, her physical and mental health defied expectations. As Edward Steinberg of Leav & Steinberg, LLP pointed out to the Daily News: “Normally, an 81-year-old widow with grown children is not expected to be working. However, she was still a very big earner and in otherwise good health. There could be millions at stake.” Negligence on the part of the Yorkville Endoscopy Center would have to be established. As a part of that, there are questions about the drugs administered by the anesthesiologist, the length of time Ms. Rivers’ brain was deprived of oxygen before her heart was restarted, and the reaction time of clinic staff.

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An explosion today in Manhattan’s East Harlem caused a piano store and an evangelical church to crumble to pieces, leaving a grim scene behind. The buildings, which were located near 116th Street and Park Avenue, also contained fifteen residential units. The incident was reported to be deafeningly loud, like a bomb. One witness described the feeling in his room nearby in the Taft Houses as similar to experiencing an earthquake and a car crash at once. The force of the explosion caused debris to spew onto elevated Metro North train tracks across the street, resulting in temporary suspension of service. Residential and commercial building windows nearby were shattered to pieces. People ran into the streets and gathered there in crowds. Smoke and flames poured out of the wreckage while first responders dug into the bricks, looking for survivors.

Two fatalities and twenty-eight injuries have been documented. The injuries range from minor to severe. One individual reported hearing loss and another individual seems to have suffered a brain injury. Almost two dozen of the injured are being treated at Mount Sinai Hospital. A handful are being treated at Harlem Hospital. Other hospitals with patients with injuries from this incident include NY Presbyterian, Weill Cornell, and Metropolitan Hospital. Numerous people remain missing at this time.

The cause of the explosion has not yet been determined. However, a Park Avenue resident notified Con Edison of a gas leak at 1652 Park Avenue at 9:13 A.M., approximately fifteen minutes prior to the explosion. The caller specified that the odor may have been coming from the exterior of the building. Con Ed’s work truck did not arrive at the scene until after the explosion. An eight inch low pressure gas main services this area; its condition is presently unknown.

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On the morning of Sunday, December 1, 2013, a Metro North train derailed while it was traversing a severely curved portion of the track in the Bronx near the Spuyten Duyvil station. All of the train cars veered off of the track. The locomotive and cars in the front deviated the most, nearly toppling into the water and ending up close to the edge of the shore. There were approximately one hundred to one hundred and fifty passengers on the train at the time. There were four fatalities and sixty-three injuries. Three of the four people who passed away were thrown thrown from the train after the windows blew out.

The cause of the derailment is under an ongoing investigation. The scene of the accident was promptly reviewed and secured by authorities who braced the cars which came to rest at an angle. Busted out windows laid on the ground nearby. The interior of the cars were ripped apart and passengers’ belongings were strewn about.

Engineer William Rockefeller has over a decade of experience with the Metro-North and survived with minor injuries. When he gave preliminary statements, he told first responders that he hit the brakes. There were three conductors on the train. Another official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, claims a last resort emergency brake technique was used.

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New York is known for its high-rise apartment buildings. Whether the building has apartments or condominiums, tenants expect plumping, heating, cooling, and other parts of the building to be kept in good repair. One part of an apartment that dwellers expect to be solid is their balcony. On Thursday August 1, 2013, a woman fell to her death from her 17th-floor balcony. The railing surrounding her balcony gave way and she lost her life.

Balcony railing gives way

The woman was on a date and went onto her balcony to smoke a cigarette. She perched on the wide metal railing along the edge of her balcony. The metal railing the woman sat on gave way. Then “she fell 140 feet to the construction scaffolding a the base of the building, at 400 East 57th Street, and died from the impact.” “A photo of the corner balcony of the apartment where [the woman] lived shows the top who metal railings bent down in a V-shape.”

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Exploding cars are de rigueur in action movies. But in real life, it is pretty scary. Think about the Ford Pinto and one pictures exploding gas tanks. This was used to great comic effect in the movie “Top Secret,” a parody of WWII spy movies. But there have been “32 rear-impact collisions that caused fatal fires resulting in 44 deaths in Grand Cherokees, and five accidents that resulted in seven deaths in Jeep Libertys” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The Investigation

On August 23, 2010, NHTSA opened an investigation into possible fuel tank explosions during rear-end collision and impacts. This investigation covered Jeep Grand Cherokees for model years 1993 to 2004, Jeep Cherokees for model years 1993 to 2001, and Jeep Libertys for model years 2002 to 2007. This investigation started as a safety defect investigation, but was upgraded to an engineering analysis to determine if the “vehicles contain a defect that presents an unreasonable risk to safety.” NHTSA said the design of the vehicle with “the location of the gas tanks behind the rear axle of the Jeeps could make them more vulnerable to being ruptured in an accident.”

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9-1-1. It is commonly the first phone number parents teach their children. It “is the emergency telephone number for the North American Numbering Plan.” And with this dedicated number, we have expectations of extremely rapid service when we call 911. But sometimes human error can delay first responders.

History of 911

The push for the development of a nationwide American emergency telephone number came “in 1957 when the National Association of Fire Chiefs recommended that a single number be used for reporting fires.” This became the national emergency number in 1968 for callers to access police, fire and ambulance services. While 911 may have been established in 1968, it was not until well into 1980s that most municipalities established 911 service.

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Would a car accident involving a driverless car be covered by New York’s no-fault insurance law? (N.Y. ISC Law § 5103) What if a car could drive itself? You could read the New York Times or Wall Street Journal from the driver’s seat or work on your personal computer while HAL drives you to work. (2001: A Space Odyssey) Think about removing human error to reduce the 93 percent of accidents that occur due to human error, a total of 34,000 traffic deaths.

The current journey

Back in 2008, General Motors announced the establishment of the Collaborative Research lab between GM and Carnegie Mellon University to work together to develop a driverless vehicle. Carnegie Mellon faculty from the School of Computer Science and College of Engineering work with GM Research and Development to work “on technologies that will accelerate the emerging field of autonomous driving – a family of electronics and software technologies that could influence the way drivers and their vehicles interact in the future.”

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There is a reunion or a wedding reception or another party at a hotel ballroom. The room is resplendent in opulence and old friends are renewing acquaintances. Dinner is announced and everyone sits down for a feast. After a wonderful evening, the attendees return home with wonderful memories. But after a day or two, the attendees start to have symptoms of abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and low-grade fever. The doctor diagnoses it as norovirus.

Currently around the country norovirus is making people ill. Norovirus is highly contagious and commonly acquired through contaminated food or water. But it can also be “acquire[d] through close contact with an infected person.” Larger norovirus outbreaks are traced back to food preparation. Food poisoning is always a possibility whenever one goes out to dine. On May 1, 2013, Newsday reported that a hotel in Westchester County is being industrially cleaned top to bottom, overseen by the local health department, after 300 people complained of illnesses after attending events there. Norovisus is the confirmed cause of all the illnesses. How the virus came to be in the hotel has not been determined. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a report in January that a new strain of norovirus called GII.4 Sydney is causing most of the current outbreaks and is highly contagious.

Getting sick is always a pain, but losing workdays and paying out for doctor’s visits can cost. While norovirus symptoms will last for a few days, some people may become severely dehydrated and need medical attention. So now lost revenues from missing workdays, doctors visit copayments, and hospital costs add up. Is there a way to recoup your loses?

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Leav & Steinberg, LLP recently took on a new matter involving a dirt bike incident which occurred in the Bronx at the intersection of Randall Avenue and Coster Street on August 11, 2012. A police officer slammed the front of his vehicle into the rear of a dirt bike while in pursuit of the driver, Adalberto Gonzalez, for insignificant charges. The driver was thrown from his bike and onto the sidewalk from the impact. The police vehicle then made a u-turn, accelerated, and slammed into the rear of a second dirt bike. Though the first driver survived with serious injuries, the second, Eddie Fernandez, was fatally injured from the hit. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. NBC covered the incident.

Surveillance video obtained by NBC 4 New York shows an NYPD patrol car slamming into two men on a dirt bike in the Bronx last August, killing the passenger.

The passenger of the dirt bike, Adam Gonzalez, is expected to appear before a judge on Monday to face several charges stemming from the accident. In the meantime, his attorney has filed a […] claim to bring a civil suit to trial, saying Gonzalez has suffered psychologically from the crash.

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Hosting parties is very popular during the winter holiday season. Many people, however, do not need a holiday to get together and share a few drinks. When these social gatherings occur in a person’s home, the host often provides both food and drinks. If you are hosting such a party, you may be wondering what your civil liability is for the actions of a drunk guest, whether it occurs during or after the party.

For example, imagine that you have a large party at your home . You invite a large number of people, including relatives, friends and neighbors, with almost everyone attending. It will not take very long for your home to be full of people who barely know each other. In these situations, it is not uncommon for alcohol to be consumed in greater quantities as a social lubricant. Luckily, you purchased enough alcohol for everyone to have a great time. Unfortunately, with the party being so large, you do not have enough time to spend with each of your guests. In fact, you are unable to check each guest’s level of intoxication before they leave and, in some cases, you do not even realize some people left. Then after the party has ended and everyone has left, you receive a telephone call that one of your party guests was intoxicated and involved in a car accident on their way home.

In New York, a social host cannot be held liable if a party guest injures someone else or causes property damage. While you may not necessarily be liable in a civil suit, that does not mean that you can serve alcohol without consequence. In New York, you may still be liable in some cases if you knowingly served alcohol to a party guest that is already intoxicated. Similarly, you may face criminal charges for providing alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated or to a minor if the minor has a sufficient blood alcohol concentration. In fact, the minor does not even need to cause any damage or injure anyone for a social host to face criminal charges, because it is illegal in New York to provide alcohol to minors.

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