Monthly Archives: September 2011

New York families lose loved ones after Nightclub drops security

Nightclubs are all over New York City. They attract people from all walks of life whether they are your average neighbor or a well-known celebrity. The clubs provide a place for people to get together, drink and – like the classic phrase – be merry. Although they are great social gathering spots, nightclubs also take in a large amount of money at night, making them attractive to sometimes dangerous people.

The families of two young men who lost their lives outside a nightclub are considering filing a lawsuit against the nightclub claiming that poor security directly led to the death of the young men who were fatally shot at the nightclub. Continue reading


Defective Honda seatbelts could cause injury, recall announced

We all know the process for product development: an inventor has an idea, they design the product, someone produces it, someone distributes it and another person sells it. Although products are fairly heavily tested for safety in this day and age, any mistake during the process could lead to serious injury for a consumer.

When a car is manufactured, it is especially important that there are no errors in production. Even one defective motor vehicle part could lead to serious personal injury or even death. Honda announced this month that they would be recalling approximately 310,773 Honda Pilots beginning on October 3, 2011 due to a defective seatbelt. Continue reading


U.S. responds to concerns raised after fatal New York City bus accident

Last week, we wrote about a fatal bus accident in New York City that took the lives of fifteen people. Although the cause of the crash has not been determined in a court of law, the bus driver was suspected of recklessly drinking during his hours off duty set aside for sleep. On the return trip, he allegedly became fatigued, swerving the bus into a support pole that ripped the bus apart.

The prior post reported the discussion that had erupted after the bus crash, calling into question the safety procedures and processes in place for mass transit. It appears as though traffic officials heard the debate and responded this week by conducting thousands of surprise bus inspections across the nation.

Federal, state and local police cooperated to conduct the unexpected inspections after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made it clear that U.S inspectors would use “every legal and enforcement tool available to shut down unsafe bus companies.”

The surprise inspections set to begin today, Friday, Sept. 23 were strategically planned to occur in connection with today’s bus safety summit held in Washington. Executives from bus corporations and transit regulators will meet to discuss ideas on how to reduce the number of annual bus crashes.

“This summit is about preventing needless tragedies and saving lives,” LaHood told reporters. “We’ve seen the horrific consequences when motor coach companies do not make safety a top priority.”

While it is admirable that the government is taking note of the number of serious bus accidents that cause devastation to families across the nation, accidents still occur. If you have been seriously injured at the hands of a negligent bus driver, experienced personal injury attorneys can discuss your case with you and help determine what compensation you may be entitled to.

Source: Bloomberg, “U.S. Starts Inspection Crackdown Before Bus-Safety Meeting,” Jeff Plungis, Sept. 23, 2011


Falling scaffolding injures 17 people in Harlem

Construction work sites can be very dangerous places, especially in New York where many of the buildings reach high heights. Workers must use dangerous tools around structures that are often either incomplete or falling apart and in need of the repair being done on them. Scaffolding is used to hold workers and transport heavy material used at the construction site.

When scaffolding falls, it can cause serious damage to those unlucky enough to be on the structure at the time or to those standing below. Falling scaffolding was to blame for causing injury to 17 people in Harlem early Tuesday morning.

The scaffolding had been erected around an old five-story brick building on West 125th Street in Harlem. According to reports, work was being done on an elevator shaft when bricks came loose, falling on the scaffolding. The scaffolding collapsed at approximately 9:25 in the morning when the streets were filled with pedestrians and commuters.

Of the 17 people injured, eight of them had been riding on a city bus when the scaffolding collapsed and landed on the back end of the bus. A reporter for The New York World was riding on the bus at the time and related his experience. “I heard a falling sound of something collapsing toward the back, and the back of the bus filled up with smoke,” he said. “People were running from the back and screaming.”

The reporter talked to a young boy who “said that he thought he was going to die.” The fear of the young boy was by no means over exaggerated. Scaffolding accidents are considered very dangerous, often leaving families to find a way to survive after their primary income-earner is seriously injured or even loses their life in one of the accidents.

Source: The New York Times, “17 Injured as Scaffold Collapses Onto Bus in Harlem,” Andy Newman and Matt Flegenheimer, Sept. 20, 2011


How to Identify and Avoid a Potential Falling Ceiling

Many older apartments in New York have plaster walls and ceilings, which differ from modern sheetrock. The plaster is attached to the ceiling joists by means of thin strips of wood called laths. The lath is then attached to the ceiling joist. Prior to the days of the cordless screw gun, most builders used nails to attach the lath to the floor joist, which have a tendency to pull away from the wood over time. The problem with this archaic system is that the wood lath expands and contracts at a much different rate than the hard plaster-causing hairline cracks. These small cracks can be easily fixed if detected early. However add a dangerous condition like a water leak from an upstairs apartment or vibration from upstairs construction and your ceiling is now a ticking time bomb ready to cause havoc when it finally decides to pull away from the ceiling joist.

What causes ceiling collapse

Water from an upstairs apartment or a defective roof, is the main cause in ceiling collapses. Most apartments in buildings are designed with a similar floor plan. This makes it more economical for the builder to run all the water lines on one side of the building (these are known as “wet walls”). Therefore your upstairs neighbor’s bathroom is most likely directly above your bathroom and their kitchen is directly above your kitchen, etc. Once your upstairs neighbor’s sink leaks, tub overflows, has defective grouting around tub or tile work, or has a defective water line in the walls, the water will find its way to your ceiling and saturate the wood lath and plaster. This will cause softening of the wood and put extra weight on the plaster causing the nails to eventually pull away from the floor joist. That’s when those little cracks in the plaster (that went unaddressed) start to provide an escape route for the trapped water and begin to leak. Once they start leaking or dripping the cracks begin to expand and eventually large portions of plaster will detach from the wood lath and crash to the ground, often causing personal injuries to anyone standing under the vicinity of the cracks. Depending on the size of the plaster, thickness of the material, how much water it retained before the ceiling fall-down, and how much wood debris it pulls down with it, the injuries caused could be very catastrophic.

Avoiding injury

It is extremely important to notify your landlord, superintendent and even the outside management company [if your building has one], upon first noticing any cracks, drips, or dark spots on the ceiling. These could be water stains or the formation of harmful mold. When notifying the proper person for repairs, make sure you have photos of all the problem areas and forward the photos to them in the event that they make the repairs while your not home. It is very important to make your request for repairs in writing, in order to avoid any misunderstandings. A certified letter with return receipt is an excellent choice in the event your complaints are disputed.

Notify and keep records

While most landlords would welcome the notification of a leak, since they have a financial interest in keeping their property safe and in proper repair. The unfortunate reality is that there are those that are considered to be ‘slumlords’and could not care about a tenant’s safety, but rather focus their concerns on maximizing profits [by minimizing expenses]. If you find yourself in a situation where the landlord does not respond to your request for repairs it is important to keep a log of all your complaints including the dates given and the names of whom you spoke to or mailed letters to. In addition, it is always a good idea in the event you are part of any government, or city program such as Section 8, to also notify them regarding the condition and habitability of your apartment.

Always seek medical attention

In the event that you or someone in your family does become injured as a result of a ceiling fall down or ceiling collapse, the most important thing is seeking prompt medical attention. Being struck by falling chunks of plaster unexpectedly has been known to cause blunt head trauma, severe neck and back injuries, serious shoulder injuries and on some occasions even paralysis and death. Always seek the proper medical attention immediately. Some neck and back injuries can lead to permanent, debilitating injuries from nerve damage if not treated properly. Never assume it is just a simple bump on the head as this could actually be a concussion that may result in a permanent brain injury if left untreated.

Know your legal rights and options

If you believe that you were injured because of your landlord’s neglect to properly maintain your apartment or if they failed to properly address your complaints, you do have legal rights -even if you are not a named tenant on the lease -you should always contact an attorney to discuss your options.

When trying to find an attorney always make sure the law firm has the proper experience and expertise and has handled premises liability and ceiling fall down cases, as these can easily become very complicated. San Razzano and the premises liability attorneys at Omrani & Taub, P.C., have successfully handled numerous claims against some of New York’s largest property management companies and landlords. For a free consultation clients should contact the office at 212-714-1515 or 212-529-7848 (that’s 212-LAW-SUIT).


Dangerous products could lurk around every corner of your New York home

When we hear the word “dangerous product,” most people think about toxic chemicals, devices with extremely sharp parts or things that we should keep out of reach of our very young children. But almost any product can be dangerous when a manufacturer fails to warn you of the risks, allows a defective product to pass inspection or even creates a design that is inherently dangerous to users.

Average household items we may consider safe can actually be hazards in disguise and there are some dangerous products in the world of electronics that have caused a shocking number of deaths.

In an ironic twist, baby monitors developed to notify you when your baby is crying or in some kind of danger have caused the death of seven infants since 2002. The monitors only work if they are placed closely to your child’s crib, but according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, those seven children were strangled by the cords running power to the device.

Since 1985, over 60,000 people have managed to swallow tiny button cell batteries that are used to power watches, thermometers or remote controls. Approximately 3,500 of those people suffered serious injuries as a result and another nine have died. According to the medical director with the National Capital Poison Center, the small amount of chemicals contained in the batteries can burn through the esophagus in less than two hours.

What may be considered one of the best disguised dangers is the flat-panel television. According to the CPSC one child is killed every two weeks when a piece of furniture like the flat-screen television becomes dislodged and falls upon them.

We buy products everyday that we assume are safe because we place a certain amount of trust in manufacturers that they will not sell something that could pose a serious risk to consumers. However, dangerous products are out there, and there are attorneys who can help you obtain the compensation that you deserve if you have been injured as the result of a manufacturer’s negligence.

Source: msn Today, “The most dangerous tech products,” Robert E. Calem, Sept. 12, 2011


Red-light cameras, a pain in the rear-end

I was driving on Northern Boulevard, yesterday, heading westbound approaching Douglaston Parkway, when the traffic light at the intersection turned yellow. I was approximately twenty (20) feet away from the intersection traveling approximately 30 mph. Immediately, I realized that if I was going to bring my car to a stop at the intersection, I would have to make what would be an unusually abrupt stop. I immediately glanced into my rearview mirror and observed a van that was more than twice the size of my car was tail-gaiting my car by about ten (10) feet. It was clear to me that if was to hit the brakes I would surely be rear-ended by the van.

Normally, in such a scenario, the defensive driving move would be to go through the yellow light rather than risk being rear-ended; however in this particular instance, I knew that the intersection was controlled by a red-light camera; therefore, I knew that going through the light would almost guarantee me getting a fine for $50.00.

I made a quick decision to blow the yellow/red light regardless of the changing traffic light. I am glad I did. Sure enough, the van also barreled through the intersection behind me.

It is very likely that in a few weeks I will be receiving a summons in the mail with photographs showing me going through the red light. But I am also certain of the fact that if I had stopped for the light, I would have surely been a victim of a horrific rear-end impact.

Rear-end impacts are no joke. They are the number one cause of whiplash injuries in the world, i.e., injuries affecting the human cervical spine (the neck) as well as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Since the installation of red-light cameras, I have received an increased report of rear-end impacts attributed to the presence of such cameras or the fear of the presence of such cameras.

The City of New York as well as many other municipalities in the state of New York, not to mention the entire nation, claims that these red-light cameras are necessary to curb intersection accidents. I disagree. I submit that red-light cameras, while speciously create the image that our roads are safer, in reality are just a ploy for raising revenues by penalizing frequent drivers on the road.

Recently I observed a red-light camera at the intersection of Marcus Avenue and Lakeville Road on a weekday evening for a period of five (5) minutes. During this five minute period of time, the flash on the camera went off nice (9) times. That is 108 times per hour which equals 2,592 red camera summonses per day. At a rate of $50.00 per ticket, the total revenues equal $129,600.00 daily, for a total of $47,304,000.00 per year. This is from a single red light camera.

According to BIG John there are currently at least 320 red light cameras in NYC alone (54 in Manhattan, 47 in Bronx, 102 in Brooklyn, 90 in Queens and 27 in Staten Island). According to the Nassau County Traffic and Parking Violations Agency, and Suffolk County, in Nassau and Suffolk Counties there are at least 94 intersections with red light cameras some of which have cameras covering two or more directions of travel.

Doing the math, the annual revenues generated from red light cameras in NYC and Long Island on an annual basis appears to be in the ballpark of $19,583,856,000.00. There are more red-light cameras being installed on a daily basis.

If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of an auto accident at an intersection, whether or not the accident is attributed to the presence of a red-light camera, I am interested in hearing from you. Please contact me at 212-529-7848 (that’s 212-LAW-SUIT) or email me through my link at


New York fatal bus accident raises criticism over transit procedures

Early this spring, the driver of a New York discount tour bus made a decision that caused 15 families to lose a loved one. He chose to drive under what have been called reckless circumstances and caused a bus accident that took the lives of half of the passengers on board.

The fatal event occurred in March of 2011 on Interstate 95 in the Bronx when the driver was transporting 30 passengers from a casino in Connecticut back to New York City in the early morning hours. Passengers were jolted awake when the bus driver abruptly swerved, lost control of the vehicle and collided with the support pole of a highway sign.

In one of the most gruesome accidents of the year, the pole swept through the bus causing the immediate death of several passengers when they were decapitated and injuries which delayed the deaths of several others. Investigators suspected fatigue from drinking in his off hours as a possible cause of the crash.

After the investigation, the driver was charged in criminal court, but evidence that has come to light during the trial has safety advocates taking a second look at transit procedures. According to prosecutors, the driver had three driving suspensions and a criminal record including manslaughter and larceny, a history the State Department of Motor Vehicles failed to find.

Screening processes are vitally important for finding drivers who will safely carry New York’s thousands of transit passengers. When a driver’s negligence causes the wrongful death of a loved one, the family often suffers emotional trauma, financial problems with the loss of an income and many more serious damages.

Source: The New York Times, “Driver in Deadly Bus Crash Knew He Was Dangerously Tired, Prosecutor Says,” Colin Moynihan, Sept. 1, 2011


Don’t let defective batteries burn you

Defective products injure thousands of people in New York each year. You should know how to avoid getting injured and what to do if you are injured. Earlier this year a number of laptop battery manufacturers expanded their recalls of defective batteries. Serious burns can be sustained due to exploding batteries. This is a bigger issue than most people realize. Today, more than ever, we rely on batteries to keep us connected to our lives and our work.

Do you get frustrated when your cell phone or laptop runs out of juice?
Sure you do. You miss calls, cannot check your emails, you’re disconnected and you lose precious time. It is always important to keep your batteries charged and properly maintained. Each type of battery has different ways to ensure longevity and healthy use so be sure to refer to your user manual for that important bit of information.


Exploding batteries are not a myth…

Although batteries are designed to operate in a wide range of conditions they can fail at certain temperatures and altitudes. Defective batteries, however, may spontaneously explode or burst into flames, even under normal conditions. This is not a myth, it happens all over the world, and it can happen to anyone, anytime. You must always take extra precautions to avoid getting skin burns to the thighs, knees, hands and even your eyes and face, from a defective battery.

– Check with your device manufacturer to verify if there has been a battery recall issued for your specific device:

o Dell –

o HP –

o Toshiba –

o Nokia –

o Check with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

o Check with

– Never use a laptop while wearing shorts or in direct contact with your skin. Try to use an additional barrier between the device and your body whenever possible.

– Never use your battery-operated device outside of its recommended parameters.

– Never use a battery-operated device if it has come in contact with any liquid, chemical, fire or extreme heat.

– Do not place batteries or devices in direct sunlight.

– Replace worn-out or old batteries as recommended by the device manufacturer.

That worst case scenario…

If you or someone you know gets burned or injured from a defective or exploding battery seek emergency medical attention immediately. The scarring or lasting effects of a burn can be minimized by getting to a burn center or treating the burn appropriately and quickly. Contact the fire department if there is a flame or continued smoke coming from the device or battery.

Once the danger has been eliminated, hold on to any evidence you can, take pictures of the defective product, the injuries and the surroundings, place the defective product in a plastic container and hold on to it.

Get professional, legal help…

Contact an attorney, as soon as possible after the incident. Do not contact the manufacturer on your own, they will only try and minimize their responsibility. The law office of Omrani & Taub, P.C. has experienced personal injury attorneys who are acutely aware of the laws and intricacies involved in recovering compensation for current injuries as well as future pain and suffering sustained from defective products. To speak to an experienced attorney who can fight for your rights call Omrani & Taub at 212-529-7848 (that’s the famous 212-LAW-SUIT).


What to do if you are on the scene of a bus accident in New York

You are a passenger on an MTA/NYCTA bus. The bus gets into a mass transit accident. You are thrown onto the floor of the bus. Luckily you are not that badly injured, but your friend who was sitting in the seat next to you struck his head on the pole then fell to the floor. He is unconscious. He is injured. The bus driver puts the bus out of service, walks over to your friend on the floor then begins to dispatch for help.

You know your friend is hurt. You know he has rights. You know he needs help. What do you do? You know that the bus driver was at fault for the accident because you saw him go through a red light. Is there anything you can do to help?

What happens at the scene on the accident…


Within the next few minutes, a multitude of uniformed officials arrive at the scene and step onboard of the bus, including paramedics, EMS/FDNY, police officers, MTA/NYCTA supervisors, as well as other officials who appear to be investigating the accident. You see officials interviewing the passengers as they let the ones who are not hurt off of the bus. You see the police officers at the scene question the bus driver. You feel reassured. Everything appears to be under control. But is it? … The answer is not what you would expect.

Here’s how we can help…

At the law offices of Omrani & Taub, P.C., we have handled numerous claims against various bus companies, including the MTA, NYCTA, MABSTOA, Metropolitan Bus Company, Bee Line Bus, Liberty Lines Express, Greyhound, Peter Pan Bus, Trans Express Bus and many more. Our experience has revealed that in accidents involving city buses, the response teams dispatched to the scene are carefully assembled by the bus companies and consist of individuals particularly trained in the field of loss control. In other words, these officials are specifically trained to limit and control the amount of liability that the bus company might face from the accident; therefore, contrary to what you might expect, the responders are not interested in preserving or documenting evidence that would help establish the victims’ claims. Rather, the only evidence they look to preserve is evidence that would limit a victim’s ability to recover for the full extent of damages.

If you are ever at the scene of a bus accident take the time to do the following:

– Obtain the names and telephone numbers of as many of the passengers as you can

– Take video or photographs of everyone at the scene, including the bus driver, the passengers, members of the response team, etc.

– Take video or photographs of the bus and other vehicles involved in the accident showing the damage sustained by each vehicle together with relevant evidence such as skid marks, scattered debris.

– Offer this information to the injured victims.

Anyone injured in a bus accident should contact a lawyer experienced in bus accident litigation. The personal injury attorneys at Omrani & Taub, P.C., have successfully handled numerous claims against various bus companies and are acutely familiar with the intricacies of bus accident litigation. Interested clients should contact the office at 212-714-1515 or 212-529-7848 (that’s 212-LAW-SUIT).


Another Tour Bus Accident Involving New York City Residents

On Wednesday, August 24, 2011 a tour bus traveling from Brooklyn, NY to Washington, DC was involved in a major tractor trailer truck accidentwhile traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike. Several passengers were critically injured, including the bus driver. The bus was owned and operated by D.C. Trailways.

This bus accident is the fifth major tour bus accident of the summer involving buses carrying New York City residents.

On August 4, 2011 a tour bus transporting 28 people on vacation from Poland overturned in rainy weather on Interstate 81 in upstate NY near Syracuse. After skidding down an 80 foot embankment, the bus came to rest on its roof, according to State police. All passengers, and the driver, survived, however, one passenger was critically injured after being pinned under the roof of the bus. This bus was owned and operated by Princeton Holdings, inc, out of Morrisville, PA.

On July 22, 2011 a New York City-bound tour bus, owned and operated by Farr’s Coach Lines of Dunnville, Ontario, crashed and caught fire after colliding with a tractor-trailer on the NYS Thruway in upstate NY. 30 passengers were injured in that bus crash. The driver of the tractor-trailer also reportedly died in this accident.

On July 18, 2011 a tour bus, owned and operated by Bedore Tours, of upstate North Tonawanda, NY crashed near Rochester, NY while traveling to Niagara Falls, killing two passengers and seriously injuring dozens more. Reportedly, a tire blowout caused the driver to lose control, resulting in this rollover bus accident.

On March 12, 2011 a tour bus traveling from the Mohegan Sun casino, in Connecticut to New York’s Chinatown flipped over on I-95 interstate highway just after entering the Bronx. Numerous catastrophic injuries were sustained by passengers on the bus, many of whom were reportedly asleep in their seats at the time of this bus accident. The bus was owned and operated by World Wide Travel tours. After flipping onto its side at a high rate of speed, the bus skidded on its side for several hundred feet before tragically crashing into a steel support beam for an overhead highway sign, causing the roof of the bus to be sheared off at the level of the windows.

Tragically, 14 passengers killed, and two others lost their lives while battling their critical injuries at area hospitals.

So far this year, at least 33 people have died and over 323 injured in 19 tour bus accidents. That’s more than in all of 2010, when there were 30 people killed and 272 injured in 28 tour bus crashes, according to Advocates for Highway Safety, an alliance of consumer, health and safety groups.

Laws concerning bus accidents involving New York State residents…

As with any other motor vehicle accident, the New York State No-Fault laws apply with regard to “first party benefits,” including lost wages and medical bills. However, it is important to know that, in many cases where buses are involved, the proper No-Fault company may turn out to be the insurance company for any vehicles privately owned by the injured party. This statutory exception to the usual rules is just one more reason to hire an attorney with knowledge and expertise in motor vehicle accidents, and bus accidents, as soon as possible following a bus accident. The good news is that tour buses, such as Trailways, Greyhound and others, carry large amounts of insurance coverage, and passengers are almost never charged with contributory negligence. This includes the often-used tool of insurance company defense lawyers, who routinely blame passengers for not using their seat belts, or not utilizing them properly. Many buses are exempt from being legally required to provide seat belts for passengers (the driver must wear one).

Here is how we can help…

The personal injury lawyers at Omrani & Taub, P.C. are acutely aware that passengers in bus accidents are more likely to sustain serious injuries due to the lack of seat belt availability (although this legal exemption for buses may soon come to end due to certain changes in Federal laws). If you, or a loved one, have been injured in an accident involving a tour bus, a transit bus or even a small commuter bus, please call the law offices of Omrani & Taub, P.C. at 212-529-7848 (that’s 212-LAW-SUIT) as soon as possible. The lawyers at Omrani & Taub will file the time-sensitive paperwork required to ensure and protect your no-fault benefits, but they will also protect your legal right to pursue a claim, or lawsuit, to collect money damages for pain and suffering, or even death, against the bus operator and any/all other responsible parties. Bus passengers, like any other motor vehicle accident victim, often sustain serious injuries which cause pain and suffering well into the future, or permanently. Make sure that the attorneys you choose have the legal experience necessary to ensure that you, or your loved one, receive the maximum amount of money possible to protect you now, and in the future. Omrani & Taub, P.C. has the legal knowledge and experience to handle bus accidents here in New York City, or anywhere throughout New York State.