Monthly Archives: March 2012

Construction worker killed in New York building collapse

Last week, construction workers were in the process of demolishing a 100-year-old warehouse when the building suddenly collapsed, burying three workers in a huge pile of concrete, bricks and steel. Although emergency responders were able to extricate all three from the rubble, the men suffered serious injuries, ultimately resulting in one worker’s death.

According to police reports, the fatal construction accident occurred as the workers were demolishing the two-story warehouse as part of Columbia University’s expansion. Although the exact cause of the incident is not yet known, a New York City spokesman says that it may have been triggered by the severing of a key structural beam earlier that morning. Continue reading


Nearly 100,000 kids hurt in stair injuries each year

Dangerous StaircaseAccording to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, a child under the age of 5 is treated in a U.S. emergency room for a stair-related injury every six minutes.

The study reportedly found that more than 93,000 children were hurt on stairs every year between 1999 and 2008, with a total of 932,000 injuries to children under the age of 5 during that decade. Researchers believe that a variety of factors are responsible for the high number of injuries, including faulty stairway design and maintenance and lack of parental education.

In the study, researchers found that about 75 percent of children who were hurt on the stairs suffered head and neck injuries. About one-third of the total injuries were to the soft tissue, one-fourth were cuts, and one-fifth were closed-head injuries. The remaining harm was in the form of dislocations, fractures and similar injuries.

In sum, about 3 percent of the children injured on the stairs required hospitalization. The number of stair-related fatalities is unknown. Continue reading


Brooklyn driving school loses license after bus accident

A New York driving school has had its operating license suspended after an undercover investigation reportedly found that the owners were using fraudulent methods to help students pass licensing tests. The owners of the school are also facing criminal fraud charges in connection with the alleged offenses.

The N & Y Professional Service Line School was recently linked to a fatal bus accident in which a low-fare bus traveling from North Carolina to New York crashed in Virginia, killing four people and injuring dozens more. The driver of the bus, who received his commercial driver’s license from N & Y, later admitted that he had fallen asleep just before the crash. He is now facing manslaughter charges. Continue reading


Verdict Expected In Deadly Bus Accident Case

A 60-year old bus driver will soon learn his fate, after facing homicide charges for a bus accident he is alleged to have caused last September. The driver, John Tomaszewski, suffered serious injuries himself, as did several passengers, when he crashed a double decker bus into a low overpass, causing the bus to tip on its side. Though there’s a good chance he will be found guilty, it isn’t yet clear if the prosecutor is seeking jail time.

According to, the accident may have happened when Tomaszewski made a wrong turn and was consulting a hand-held GPS device. As a result, four passengers on the bus were killed. He was ultimately charged with four counts of criminally negligent homicide and one count of failing to obey a traffic control device.

Since the bus accident, Tomaszewski has been living with family. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in the accident and is in need of surgery. He was released without bail pending the verdict as the judge didn’t see him as a flight risk, and with good reason.

Although other passengers on the bus were injured, the status of any civil cases isn’t clear. Continue reading


Increased Penalties for Faking Auto Accidents

The state Senate passed legislation to crack down on auto insurance fraud this week, just after a fraud ring was busted for faking accidents and reaping the financial rewards through insurance companies. The legislation will create a new felony law, making it a serious crime to stage an auto accident. Conviction under the law will warrant up to 7 years in prison.

Insurance fraud is said to cost the people of New York more than $1 billion each year. And it isn’t just people staging accidents that get in on the action. According to the NY Daily News, the Department of Financial Services has “launched a crackdown” on medical professionals that also take part in the fraudulent schemes.

The Department sent letters to 135 doctors in the NYC area after their billing practices “raised red flags”. To substantiate those bills being submitted to insurance companies for reimbursement, the agency requested supporting documentation from the doctors, proving the bills were legitimate. Continue reading


80-Year Old Man Hits School Bus, Bicycle and Range Rover

Bensonhurst was the scene of multiple auto accidents last week as an 80-year old man not only hit a school bus, but went on to hit a bicyclist and a Range Rover truck before coming to a stop. Tommy Saladino was taken to the hospital but is expected to be arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

Saladino allegedly hit a school bus and kept driving. It wasn’t until he hit a bicycle and Range Rover that his black Mercedes was stopped on 73rd Street near 18th Avenue.

A sixty-three year old bicyclist was thrown onto the windshield of a parked car after being hit by Saladino. He lost his helmet and shoes and rolled from on top of the vehicle to the sidewalk. According to the NY Daily News, he was in cardiac arrest when he was transported to Maimonides Hospital.

Saladino is the owner of Continental Shoes, also on 18th Avenue. He had hit a school bus and was driving away when the bicycle accident happened. While he would have normally only been charged with hit and run, he will now face the consequences of the other two collisions as well. Continue reading


New York Yankee recovering from fall down stairs

David RobertsonIn baseball, as in life, one wrong move can change the game. A slip-and-fall accident, a bus accident, or any other premises liability incident can leave one incapacitated and unable to fulfill their obligations. This could result in missed work, lost wages, and mounting medical bills.

For New York Yankees pitcher David Robertson, a recent fall down a flight of stairs at his home will keep him from the pitcher’s mound for an undetermined amount of time. Robertson was carrying two empty boxes to the recycling bin when he fell down the stairs, resulting in a mid-foot sprain. This simple misstep will keep him off the field until a full recovery has been made. Foot injuries are difficult for anyone, but for a pitcher they are particularly serious because they have the potential to alter a throwing motion, which could cause arm and shoulder damage.

Although Robertson’s injury took place at home, many common injuries happen while people are walking in grocery stores, restaurants and malls. People often feel responsible for their own injuries, but it’s important to remember that property managers and employees have a responsibility to address potential hazards that could result in accidents for those walking through.

Most of us mere mortals don’t have the pressure of performing for the New York Yankees weighing on us, but we also may not have the kind of resources, medical care, and support that Robertson has as the Yankees team physician and others work to get him back on the field. That’s why it’s so important to recognize that even a “simple” accident may warrant a lawsuit.

Receiving compensation for injuries may be necessary to cover lost wages due to missed work, and to receiving the necessary medical care for a full recovery. You may not be needed on the pitcher’s mound, but chances are you’re a valuable player who is needed in some area of the game of life.

Source: New York Post, “Clumsy accident offers little relief for New York Yankees,” Kevin Kernan, March 9, 2012


New training rule may increase New York construction accidents

In the coming weeks, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will make a decision that could potentially increase the occurrence of construction accidents in New York City. Under a proposed new rule, construction workers could become licensed to operate giant tower cranes without any prior experience in New York City.

Under the current regulations, tower crane operators must operate cranes in the city as an apprentice for at least three years prior to being approved for a license. The proposed new rule eliminates that requirement, and simply states that crane operators must have two years of prior apprenticeship experience in any “urban area of comparable density.” Continue reading


Minor Injuries After Brooklyn Bus Accident

A city bus and a meals-on-wheels van made for a big mess when they collided in Brooklyn early this week. According to the Daily News, the van registered to the Jewish Association Servicing the Aging, ran a red light and hit a passenger car, forcing the bus to swerve and subsequently hit a building.

The accident happened on the corner of Avenue J and Ocean Ave. in Midwood just before 10 a.m. Monday morning. The bus was eastbound on Avenue J when it was forced to swerve to miss the van and collided with an apartment building. The van ended up on its side in the middle of the intersection.

Fortunately, no pedestrians were struck at the intersection and no residents of the apartment building were injured.

Twelve people, from the multiple vehicles, were transported to Kings County Hospital, Maimonides Hospital and Lutheran Medical Center with minor injuries according to police at the scene. Continue reading


Fatal Construction Accident Leads to Criminal Convictions

A 2009 construction accident killed a Long Island man and is just now coming to resolution in court. Two contractors on the accident site were charged criminally with the worker’s death, and the family of the victim also has a lawsuit pending against the reportedly culpable companies.

Robert McGee, 59, a construction foreman from Bohemia L.I. was working at the site on Staten Island during heavy wind advisories. As he knelt on the second story floor, a wind gust brought down a 60 foot tall wall on him, crushing him.

The wall was said to be a known problem, as workers on the site had watched it sway in the wind for days prior. Knowing about the wind advisory, a colleague had called McGee before the collapse, warning him that it may be in his best interest to leave the site.

Anthony Malfi, owner of Well Built Development Corp. who erected the wall, and Michael Fazio of Woodrow Builders, LLC, both faced criminal charges in McGee’s death, something rare but not unheard of. Both pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and will serve no jail time.

The family of McGee also has a lawsuit pending in state Supreme Court, claiming that Well Built did not follow the guidelines set for constructing a commercial office building and that Woodrow Builders did not have an inspector on site to ensure the construction was built according to regulations. Both companies are named in the lawsuit. Continue reading


FedEx Truck “Slams” Amish Buggy, Kids Hurt

Fedex Truck vs Amish BuggyNear the Canadian border, in the far northern region of the state, it’s not unusual to see Amish buggies. It appears one FedEx driver wasn’t aware of this, however, striking a buggy from behind and seriously injuring the passengers.

According to the Washington Post, the accident happened in the town of Massena on Route 37. Two women and four children were riding in the buggy at the time. As you might expect, a few of them were serious injured simply because such buggies don’t provide the safety of modern automobiles.

One of the mothers is being treated for a possible spinal injury, and two 3-year old children remain in critical condition. The other passengers were treated and released. The driver of the FedEx truck and his coworker passenger were not injured.

At the time of the Washington Post article, the accident was still under investigation. Nearly all rear-end accidents are deemed to be the fault of the accident that was in the rear, however, and it seems there are no indications that the buggy passengers played a role in causing the accident.

Despite how cut and dry an auto accident might seem, the police and insurance companies will each have to do their own investigations. Sometimes their findings don’t jibe with one another, creating a conflict often sorted out by attorneys in a personal injury claim. Continue reading


New York City elevator accident update: five workers fired

Transel Elevator, Inc., the company responsible for maintaining the elevators in the Manhattan office building where a young advertising executive was killed last December, has fired five of its elevator mechanics in connection with the accident. Transel announced the dismissals only two days after New York City investigators reported their finding that a crucial safety system (which could have prevented the elevator accident) had been disabled.

Our attorneys have closely followed this story since it occurred (see previous posts created in January and February) and are not surprised by these latest developments. Employers often fire employees after a serious or fatal accident for various reasons, sometimes justifiably and sometimes not. What Transel’s decision to fire these mechanics will not do, however, is relieve the company of legal responsibility for employee actions occurring within the scope of employment. Continue reading