Diseases Related to 9/11 First Responders and the Ongoing Impact
The devastating terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, not only claimed the lives of thousands of innocent people but also left a lasting impact on the health of the brave first responders who risked their lives to save others. Recently, the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) announced a tragic milestone – the number of first responders who have died from illnesses related to 9/11 has reached the same number as those who lost their lives on the day of the attacks. This somber revelation serves as a stark reminder of the long-term health consequences faced by these heroic individuals.
The FDNY shared the heartbreaking news via an Instagram post by Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanagh (@fdnyfc). She revealed that two more first responders had succumbed to 9/11-related illnesses, bringing the death toll to 343. EMT Hilda Vannata lost her battle with cancer, while retired firefighter Robert Fulco died from pulmonary fibrosis. Both had spent significant time working in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site.
Commissioner Kavanagh expressed deep sorrow for the families of these fallen heroes and emphasized the responsibility the FDNY has towards its colleagues beyond the events of September 11th. She acknowledged that the toll of these illnesses on FDNY members continues to rise, with approximately 11,000 individuals suffering from World Trade Center (WTC)-)-related diseases, including 3,500 with cancer. The commissioner noted, ‘Our responsibility to our FDNY colleagues extends far beyond what we asked of them on September 11th and in the days and months that followed during rescue and recovery.’
The legacy of honor and promise created for the fallen heroes drives the FDNY’s advocacy for survivors. Commissioner Kavanagh vowed to continue pushing until all members receive the care they deserve for the rest of their lives. The FDNY’s dedication to their service and sacrifice is unwavering, and their promise to never forget them stands strong.
FDNY Fire Commissioner Kavanaugh closed her Instagram post by noting, ‘343 of our heroes lost in one day and today, 343 more. The FDNY will never forget them. This is our legacy. This is our promise.’ The diseases related to 9/11 first responders are a harsh reality that has unfolded in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. The toll on the health and lives of these brave individuals is a constant reminder of the sacrifices made that day and in the days and months that followed. We must continue to support and advocate for the survivors, ensuring they receive the care they deserve. The legacy of the fallen heroes must be honored by fulfilling the promise of lifelong care and support for those who risked everything to save others on that fateful day.
If you or a loved one have been affected by the repercussions of diseases or health concerns related to 9/11, contact Belluck & Fox to discuss your options. Our skilled attorneys can help you in receiving the compensation and care that you need.
Instagram: Laura Kavanaugh @fdfny
Taking Action for Safer Streets
A recent analysis by Transportation Alternatives reveals the alarming rate of serious traffic-related injuries occurring on the streets of New York City. The research showed that over 4,200 people endured significant bodily harm from January 2022 to June of this year alone, equating to an average of 8 people per day. It is evident that urgent action is needed to address the safety concerns plaguing our transportation infrastructure.
From January to September of 2023, there have been 170 traffic-related deaths in New York City. It has been a more fatal year for cyclists, with 22 killed thus far, compared to the 14 fatalities during the same period last year. Data collected by Transportation Alternatives shows that, on average, during the first six months of the year, 15 pedestrians, seven cyclists, and 27 drivers were seriously injured in crashes… each week.
Transportation Alternatives’ analysis examined crashes involving various road users, including cyclists, pedestrians, motorists, passengers, and individuals on motorized bikes and scooters. The data revealed that a significant number of accidents resulted in dismemberments, fractured bones, miscarriages, and permanent organ damage. These life-altering consequences highlight the urgent need for safer streets.
The analysis also exposed the disparities faced by particular communities. According to the crash data, the ten council districts with the highest populations of people of color faced a 15% increased likelihood of experiencing traffic injuries, while residents of the ten council districts with the highest poverty rates were nearly a quarter more likely to be gravely injured. Both of these statistics were in comparison to the average district. These contrasts underscore the need for equitable access to safe transportation options and more significant protection for vulnerable communities.
Councilmember Selvena Brooks-Powers, chair of the Council’s transportation committee, commented, ‘This data is alarming, but not surprising. Our transportation infrastructure forces those in our outer borough and lower-income neighborhoods to be disproportionately reliant on cars and bikes, putting them at the highest odds of being in harm’s way.’
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Vision Zero program, launched in 2014, aims to eliminate traffic deaths and injuries in New York City. However, Transportation Alternatives argues that the focus often rests solely on fatalities, neglecting the severity of serious injuries.
Some aspects of the analysis have been argued by the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT has cited that specific neighborhoods typically have a heavier concentration of people during the day and fewer people at night.
Mona Bruno, a spokesperson for the DOT, wrote, ‘Throughout Vision Zero, NYC DOT has worked to ensure all New Yorkers benefit from our safety projects— and we’ve seen the greatest decreases in pedestrian fatalities both in neighborhoods with high poverty rates and the highest levels of non-white residents.’ She argued that an ‘equity formula’ that helps determine where to make street safety improvements has helped Transportation Alternatives focus more intently on the neighborhoods with high poverty rates and people of color.
Regardless of opinion or bias, the facts speak for themselves. Within the first six months of the year, Manhattan led the boroughs in pedestrian injuries with 289. Within this same period, Brooklyn led the boroughs in cyclist injuries with 204, while Queens led the boroughs in motorist injuries with 567.
The alarming number of severe injuries on New York City streets demands immediate attention and action. As we strive for safer streets and improved transportation infrastructure, it is crucial to support those who have suffered due to negligence or inadequate safety measures. Belluck & Fox stands ready to assist accident victims in pursuing justice, ensuring their voices are heard and their rights are protected. With their extensive experience and expertise, their team will guide you through the legal process, ensuring that you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you or someone you know has been affected by a serious accident, contact Belluck & Fox today for expert legal counsel and representation. Together, we can work towards a safer and more secure future for all New Yorkers. Please reach out to Belluck & Fox today for a free consultation.
With More New York Children Killed as Vision Zero Street Safety Initiative Remains Stagnant, City Could Be Held Responsible
Vision Zero was created by the City of New York with the intention of protecting families with safer streets. The leading cause of death for NYC children under 14 is being struck by a vehicle, and the Vision Zero concept heralds that this statistic should be unacceptable.
Since the implementation of Vision Zero in 2014, New York City has used multiple tools to improve the safety of streets in each borough. They implemented new street designs, increased penalties for dangerous drivers, and expanded speed limits, hoping that the combination would help prevent crashes.
However, a new study has shown that more NYC kids were killed in 2022 by drivers, than in any other year since Vision Zero began. The Transporation Alternatives Organization found that 15 children under 18 years of age were killed by drivers in 2022. This number has doubled in comparison to both 2018 and 2020.
New York City claims that traffic deaths are on the decline, but when you look at the numbers year after year, that is not the case. The lowest number of deaths per year since the Vision Zero launch was in 2018 when 202 people were killed by collisions. In 2022, 255 fatalities occurred, which is a 24% increase in death rate in comparison to 2018.
The 10-year mark of Vision Zero is approaching, and with this new analysis, it remains clear that the city is not seeing the results it had originally hoped. The City Council has stated that it will hold a hearing on Vision Zero in February, which is hopefully the beginning of Vision Zero improvements.
When you or a loved one are injured as a pedestrian by a motor vehicle, there can multiple parties upon which to assign blame. Victims can pursue compensation from the driver that hit them; the company that operates a taxi, bus, or scooter; or even the manufacturer of a faulty part that may have caused the accident. But what many people don’t realize is that negligence can also be assigned to the City for failure to ensure safety.
With the statistics telling such a grim story in the face of continued failed efforts to curb the danger, municipalities are more often being held responsible. If there’s been an accident or injury, you can reach out to Belluck & Fox today for a free consultation to learn about the next steps and possible paths toward the compensation you deserve.
Belluck & Fox Settles Car Accident Injury Lawsuit on Jersey Shore
She was on vacation with her friends over Memorial Day Weekend. Everything was going great on their trip to the Jersey Shore. They were in a cab when, out of nowhere, an elderly driver crossed into oncoming traffic.
That car hit two vehicles, one of which was the cab. The client was injured badly, fracturing her nose which required her to undergo surgery.
That car hit two vehicles, one of which being the cab. The client was injured badly, fracturing her nose and having to undergo surgery.
Even in the face of complications, like the (subsequent and unrelated) death of the driver and a limited insurance policy, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Belluck & Fox were able to bring the case to a successful settlement. When all was said and done, the client walked away with two and half times the original offer.
Serious car accident injuries can leave a victim with staggering medical bills, a sudden drop in income, and months or years of pain and suffering. That’s why it is so important to reach out to top-rated car accident lawyers like Belluck & Fox. Decades of experience allow us to know how to:
Manage all communication with insurance companies and the at-fault party.
Gather extensive documentation of your motor vehicle accident to support your claim for maximum compensation.
Identify all possible sources of compensation.
Build a strong case with in-depth understanding of local accident laws.
Ensure time doesn’t run out on your car accident claims.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, you don’t have to go it alone. At Belluck & Fox, our award-winning personal injury lawyers are dedicated to fighting for the compensation you need to get your life back in order after an accident. Reach out today for a free consultation.
Belluck & Fox Wins Personal Injury Settlement for Pedestrian Accident
She was just trying to cross the street. After pushing the button on the traffic light at the intersection of Broadway and Hudson Avenue in Albany, New York, she waited for the light to change and began to walk.
When she was more than halfway across, her legs were suddenly swept out from under her as she was hit by a car that was making a left turn.
She sustained soft tissue injuries to her knee, lower back, and shoulder, none of which required surgery. While her ultimate recovery went well, there were many gaps in her treatment due to extenuating circumstances and COVID-19.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Belluck & Fox knew the victim had a strong case and deserved compensation for the treatments and suffering she had to endure as a result of the accident. Our team was able to win a settlement worth six and a half times the initial offer made to her as compensation.
A pedestrian accident victim is subject to New York’s “no-fault” insurance laws, but being on foot makes a difference:
- An injured pedestrian can tap the insurance of the at-fault motorist or motorists involved in the accident to recoup medical expenses, lost wages, and other reasonable costs.
- The injured pedestrian can also use the “no-fault” laws to tap their own auto insurance policy.
- If the pedestrian does not have access to the motorist’s insurance information, such as in a hit-and-run, and if the pedestrian cannot tap into his or her own policy, they can file a claim with the state’s Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corp.
- If the accident was caused by public or private infrastructure problems such as potholes that should not have existed, the injured party can seek damages from the responsible government body or property owner.
Filing claims for compensation after a serious pedestrian accident can be extremely complicated in New York, and having the best attorney on your side can make all the difference.
Belluck & Fox has secured more than $1 billion in compensation for clients and their families. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Reach out today if you or a loved one has been injured to learn about the process for pursuing compensation and the various time limits that may affect your case.
Trip or Treat?
Halloween is a big deal for children and families all across the United States, giving children (and many adults!) the opportunity to dress up and collect some great candy while they’re at it.
With a massive number of people participating each year, there is always a need to pause and think about how to stay safe and enjoy the holiday. We’ve compiled just a few tips to keep in mind as you head out this year.
- Costumes should be bright and preferably reflective to ensure trick or treaters can be seen by drivers and the people around them.
- When decorating your home, try to avoid things on the ground that trick or treaters could trip or injure themselves on. It also helps to keep your walkways well lit!
- Children should always be accompanied by an adult. Try to ensure some sort of way to communicate while you’re out – either a cell phone or walkie talkie – to avoid separating.
- It’s rare, but it is still a risk. Be sure to check candy before eating it, just in case someone had the wrong intentions. Always better to be safe than sorry.
- If you see any suspicious activity while you’re out around the neighborhood, report it. Halloween tends to be a reason for people to play pranks or worse, and we all need to look out for one another.
Lastly, have fun! While there are plenty of safety concerns to take into account, Halloween is meant to be an exciting, entertaining, and rewardingly sweet day. We hope you enjoy it this year. Feel free to share some of your best costume photos with us on social media!
Bike Accident and Injury Risks in NYC
According to the NYC DOT, nearly 4,500 bicyclists were injured in accidents involving a motor vehicle in 2017. Twenty-four of those bicyclists died.
Even though the risk of being injured while riding in NYC decreased dramatically between 2000 and 2017, there are still serious reasons to remain alert and careful while riding around the five boroughs.
In April 2019 cyclist Victor Ang, 74 at the time, was struck and subsequently run-over by a UPS truck. While the driver stayed at the scene and no charges have been filed, the incident highlights the risk bicyclists in NYC face each day as they ride to work, take care of family, or even just run errands.
According to the NY Post, Ang “sustained severe trauma to his body, including his legs.” Unfortunately it was reported that two months later, in June, Ang passed away as a result of the accident. As stated in his obituary, “he lit up every room he was in, and was known for his good sense of humor, his jokes, and laughter. He showed kindness to everyone around him.”
Even more troubling is that Victor is hardly alone. In July 2019 alone, we’ve learned of bicycle-related fatalities including Devra Freelander, a 28 year old artist struck by a cement truck in Brooklyn; and Moshe Wolpin, just 11 at the time of his accident, who recently passed as a result of injuries sustained when he was struck by a car on his way to school.
NYC BICYCLE SAFETY TIPS
Here are some key tips for staying safe while riding a bike in New York City. While certainly not a guarantee, keeping these in mind can help avoid a serious injury.
- Ride in the streets, not on the sidewalks, and always use the bike lane when one is available.
- Go in the same direction as vehicle traffic, and signal for turns just like they do.
- Follow all of the same warnings as vehicle traffic, like stop signs and traffic lights.
- Make sure other drivers can see you – light, reflectors, bright colors – anything to make you more noticeable on the road.
- Be very aware of pedestrians, car doors, and other obstacles on the road.
- Stay alert – if music distracts you, avoid listening to it while riding.
- Wear a helmet!
ALREADY BEEN IN AN ACCIDENT?
We know getting into a bike accident can be traumatic, and the injuries serious. You don’t need to be paying medical bills alone. Belluck & Fox has more than two decades of experience representing injured New Yorkers in bike, motorcycle, and car accidents. We’re proud to stand up for those who need help. Give us a call today for a free consultation to discuss your case. We will help you get justice.
Common Airbag Injuries in Car Accidents
Although intended to save lives in the event of a collision, airbags can cause severe injuries in certain circumstances. When an airbag malfunctions or is defective, you could be owed significant compensation for any injuries you suffer.
Even when an airbag functions properly, it can still cause serious injuries. In such cases, an at-fault driver could be liable for your injuries.
What Causes Airbag Deployment?
Airbags are designed to deploy when the electronic control sensor is triggered in a collision.
Depending on the severity of the impact, the control unit will determine which airbags should deploy. A signal is then sent to the inflator mechanism, and a chemical reaction causes the airbags to quickly inflate to protect occupants from the impact. This whole process occurs in a fraction of a second.
Upon deployment, the airbag inflates and acts as a cushion between the driver or passenger and the steering wheel, dashboard, or other hard surface in the vehicle.
Causes of Airbag Injuries
Airbags are meant to work in conjunction with seatbelts to keep car occupants safe. In order to be effective, airbags must deploy quickly, but sometimes the speed with which they eject causes of blunt-trauma injuries.
In addition to the rate of deployment, the following are some reasons that may also cause airbaginjuries:
- Spontaneous inflation
- Failure to deploy
- Occupants unrestrained by seatbelts
- Young passengers in the front seat
- Allergic reaction to airbag chemicals
- Insufficient car set securing
- Close proximity to the wheel or dashboard
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends that drivers and passengers sit at least 10 to 12 inches away from the steering wheel and dashboard to lessen the risk of impact injuries upon airbag deployment.
Common Injuries Caused by Airbags
While designed to protect drivers and passengers, airbags are commonly the cause of injuries. A wide range of injuries can be caused by airbags even when they operate as they should.
Injuries caused by airbags can include following:
- Friction burns to the hands and upper body
- Cuts or bruising to the face, chest, and arms
- Impact injuries to the wrists and fingers
- Spinal cord injuries
- Concussions and other head injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Trauma to the middle ear, causing hearing loss
- Exacerbating asthma
- Trauma to the fetus or amniotic sac in pregnant passengers or drivers
Airbag Injury Claims
Drivers have a right to expect that airbags will keep them safe in the event of a collision, not cause them harm. If an airbag is defective, you could be owed significant compensation from the manufacturer of the device, the automobile manufacturer, or multiple parties.
Even if the airbag was not defective, you could be entitled to compensation from the at-fault driver who caused the crash that resulted in airbag deployment and injuries.
Your attorney will investigate the cause of your injuries and will work to determine any and all liable parties.
You could be eligible to recover damages including: medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, among others. Time is limited to file an injury claim, however, so it is critical to get legal help right away.
How Can Belluck & Fox Help?
The car accident lawyers at Belluck & Fox are committed to protecting the rights of injury victims. We understand that when you’ve been hurt, nothing can undo the physical trauma that you have already experienced.
We’re here to seek the justice and the fair compensation that you are owed. To discuss your situation and legal options, contact a New York airbag injury lawyer at Belluck & Fox today for a free consultation.
OTC and Prescription Drugs Cause Drivers Accidents
The concerns about over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medication use among truckers is heightened in recent years because America is gripped by a truck driver shortage. According to an article in the Washington Post, the American Trucking Association estimates that 51,000 more drivers are needed to accommodate the growing shipping demands from giant retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
The hazards of driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs are widely known. But not everyone realizes that prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can cause severe impairment as well. Unfortunately, the limited pool of available truck drivers means that more truckers could be hitting the roads while medicated. When truck drivers take medication and operate vehicles weighing as much as 80,000 pounds, severe and often fatal accidents can occur.
How Can OTC and Prescription Drugs Affect Truck Drivers?
Truck drivers may use OTC medications to treat minor conditions such as a cold or allergies. While it is common to turn to OTC and prescription medications to combat illnesses and other conditions, it is crucial to refrain from driving until you understand how the medicine affects you. For those whose job it is to operate large commercial vehicles on busy roads and highways, it is even more essential to make sure that the medications do not impair them in any way.
Any substance that impacts a truck driver’s coordination and alertness could lead to a catastrophic injury accident. Some common medications that could negatively affect a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle include:
- Pain relievers
- Sleeping aids
- Cough and cold medicines
- Eye medications
- Some heart medicines
Prescription or OTC medications can cause side effects in truck drivers such as:
- Impaired coordination
- Delayed reaction time
- Balance problems
- Impaired spatial judgment
In addition, some OTC medications may cause drivers to experience anxiety, which could lead to a panic attack behind the wheel. All of these side effects could result in a disaster for nearby motorists, pedestrians and the truck driver.
Medications That Disqualify Truck Drivers
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established strict regulations that truck drivers and truck companies must follow in order to protect the public. While truckers are allowed to take many OTC medications on the clock, other medications are prohibited.
Many of the prohibited medications are habit-forming and can seriously affect the performance of drivers. These include:
- Controlled substances
- Depressants or stimulants
- Anti-seizure medication
Some of the above medications can be exempt from FMCSA’s rules if the driver obtains written permission from a licensed physician stating that their ability will not be impaired by the dosage.
How to Prove Prescription Drug Use of a Driver After an Accident
If you have been hurt with a collision with a truck driver, you may be entitled to compensation to help cover the cost of medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other losses. In order to collect the compensation that you deserve, you need to contact an experienced truck accident attorney.
A truck accident lawyer can investigate the crash to prove that the trucker was impaired by a prescription or OTC drug. Medical records, medication receipts, drug tests and other vital forms of evidence can show that the driver was on medication at the time of the crash.
In addition to testing the driver, obtaining documentation from the driver’s employer can help shed light on the driver’s history. Often employers will withhold information about employee’s drug tests. Because this information is kept confidential, a court order is typically needed to obtain it. All of these steps can be taken by your lawyer with minimal input from you.
How Can Belluck & Fox Help Me?
A collision with a large commercial vehicle can have a devastating impact on your health and livelihood. If you have been hurt in a crash and you believe the driver was under the influence of over-the-counter or prescription medication, the New York truck accident lawyers at Belluck & Fox are ready to fight for you.
Our top-rated lawyers have 25 years of experience representing clients who have been injured in catastrophic truck accidents. To find out how we can help you, contact us today for a free case review.
Arrange your free consultation now.
Accidents Caused by Traffic Congestion and Rubbernecking
While not everyone will admit it, we are all probably guilty of staring at an accident as we pass by. This act of taking your attention off of the road in front of you is often referred to as rubbernecking. While it can be tempting to see what is going on, it is crucial to realize that rubbernecking doesn’t just cause a slowdown in traffic. Drivers who become distracted by crash scenes could cause a severe accident themselves.
According to a study, 16% of all accidents are caused by rubbernecking drivers. This is problematic primarily because these collisions are entirely avoidable. If everyone paid full attention to the task of driving, traffic would move along smoothly and there would likely be fewer rear-end collisions caused by rubbernecking.
Is Rubbernecking Illegal in New York?
Distracted driving, which includes the act of rubbernecking, is a major problem on New York roads. While the state has taken steps to reduce certain types of distracted driving accidents by prohibiting drivers from using cell phones or electronic devices while driving, there are no regulations that directly govern rubbernecking.
However, all drivers have a basic legal duty to focus on the task of safely operating their motor vehicle at all times. It’s up to each driver on New York roads to pay attention and avoid this dangerous distraction while driving.
What Causes Traffic Congestion?
One of the main reasons why traffic is so congested in New York and in cities across the United States is that too many people need to be somewhere at the same times each day. People go to work, school, and run errands during the same hours, causing serious congestion problems in densely populated cities, suburbs and towns.
Most Americans live in low-density areas with few efficient public transportation options. Also, the convenience, flexibility, and privacy that personal vehicles offer are often a greater draw than public transit or carpooling options.
With nearly 90 percent of daily commuters in the U.S. using private vehicles and almost all of them needing to drive at the same times each day, it is no wonder that we report significant traffic congestion problems on a daily basis.
This underlying congestion problem only gets worse when some drivers slow down to check out a crash or other incident. Rubbernecking can cause chain-reaction traffic jams, as well as chain-reaction traffic accidents.
How Can Belluck & Fox Help Me?
The distracted driving accident attorneys of Belluck & Fox represent clients who were hurt in accidents caused by rubbernecking drivers in New York City and across the state. We know the devastating impact an accident can have on your health, your finances, and your family’s lives. Let our legal team help you seek the compensation you deserve if someone else’s negligence caused you harm.
There is never a fee to speak with us about your case. Contact us by phone or online now to schedule a confidential consultation about your best legal options.