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A look back at New York City car accident history

It has been 115 years since Henry H. Bliss stepped down from a New York City streetcar and into the pages of history books. The unfortunate man was run over by an electric taxi cab, dying of his injuries the next day.  

He thus became the first person in the United States to die in a car accident. He was also quite clearly the first pedestrian fatality in our history. By the end of 1899, 25 more people would die in motor vehicle accidents. By the end of the next year, another 36 had been killed. And the tragedies have continued to mount ever since.

The toll passed a million total fatalities in the 1950s.

The growing numbers were awakening Americans that something had to be done. So President Dwight Eisenhower decided to declare a National Safe Driving Day.  

On Dec. 1, 1955 - Safe Driving Day - 69 people were killed across the nation in car crashes. That year, more than 36,000 people died in accidents.

In 2012, the toll was 33,561. The U.S. Department of Transportation says on its website that it estimates that 32,850 people died on our roads last year, a drop of 2.1 percent from 2012. Because we have a significantly greater population today than we did back in 1955, it's clear that advances in safety technology, traffic management, road design and public education about safe driving have saved countless lives.

The statistics can be numbing, especially for someone who has lost a loved one in an auto accident. An attorney experienced in wrongful death litigation and motor vehicale accidents can help a family fight to hold the person who caused the crash accountable for his or her actions.

Source: The Daily Progress, "Yesteryears: Human nature put brakes on plans for accident-free National Safe Driving Day," Oct. 12, 2014

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  • $2.1 million settlement

    for 33-year old electrician who fell from ladder while attempting to fit heavy cable into crown box when cable sprung back and struck him, causing him to suffer left shoulder injury with impingement.

  • $1.6 million settlement

    for 38-year old electrician who slipped and fell on debris on stairway with resulting cervical herniated disc and aggravation of pre-existing arthritic changes.

  • $2.55 million settlement

    for 42-year old electrician who fell into an uncovered, unprotected hole and suffered a severe low back injury with herniated disc(s) that required surgery at L4-5 and L5-S1 levels.

  • $1.75 million settlement

    for 26-year old construction worker who fell through opening in roof and fractured his wrist, requiring surgery with open reduction and internal fixation, external fixation device, and eventual fusion.

  • $2.5 million settlement

    for 38-year old female electrician (with history of prior neck injury) who tripped on uneven Masonite protective floor covering, and suffered neck injury with herniated discs requiring cervical fusion.

  • $1.2 million settlement

    during trial for 40-year old sheet metal worker who was struck in the neck and shoulder by an air conditioning unit and suffered herniated cervical discs and cervical radiculopathy.

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