When an innocent person is injured, there is a single universal truth – that person is automatically the underdog. This is true whether you were injured in a construction accident, a car accident, or in any other way. The cards are always stacked against you. In a perfect world, large insurance companies, manufacturers and powerful entities, like cities and states, would have the proper compassion for those they have injured. They don’t. What’s worse is that most of the time those companies are often provided extra protection from the law that everyday people simply don’t get. How does this happen? It happens because over years and years of lobbying, these large companies and entities can change the law in their favor, making it harder and harder for injured people to get the help they need and the compensation they deserve. The result is a system where, from the get-go, injured workers are behind the 8-ball.
For a perfect example of this phenomenon, look no further than this recent personal injury court case decision from the Appellate Division in New York. In New York, there are three levels of courts. The Appellate Division is the second level consisting of a group of judges whose job it is to ensure fairness. Luckily, they were there to help this time.
This recent case came about because the soon-to-be-injured-person was a passenger on a New York City bus. Shortly after boarding the bus, the client was thrown to the ground because the bus stopped quickly and abruptly. As a result, she suffered significant injuries. The bus was operated by the New York City Transit Authority. Rather than take responsibility for the negligent driving, the Transit Authority asked the judge to dismiss the case. This is a very normal defense attorney tactic. They often use the law, which has continuously been shaped against injured people, to try and either reduce the value of a case or flat out dismiss it altogether. The Transit Authority used a special provision of the law which states that the bus must have stopped in an “unusual and violent” way. It should be noted that normal drivers do not receive this kind of protection. This is special protection reserved just for “common carriers.” If a normal person like you or I was driving a vehicle, we do not get the same benefit.
Not only did the Transit Authority claim that it did not stop in an unusual way, but it also claimed that if the driver did stop violently, it was only because there was some kind of an emergency. Essentially, the Transit Authority argued that they did nothing wrong, but if they did, there was a reason for it. This kind of doublespeak is common among defendants, especially those given extra protection by the law. Often times, if this argument is not opposed by a skilled attorney, judges will agree with the defendants.
Unfortunately for the injured victim, the judge in the lower court bought these arguments and dismissed the case. This is the very reason why injured people need strong attorneys. Had this decision not been appealed and argued, the injured victim’s case would have been lost. However, the judge’s decision was appealed. After careful consideration, the Appellate Division found that the Transit Authority cannot have it both ways. They reversed the lower court’s decision and, as a result, the injured person was allowed to continue the claim.
Defendants, especially large corporations, insurance companies, and cities alike, do this every day. The number of injured victims taken advantage of by the defendants and the law itself is staggering. A good attorney who knows the law and has experience fighting these exact fights is essential in making sure that justice is served. It is vital that you know your rights and have someone fighting for you who is experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of an accident, please reach out to us for a free legal consultation by calling 24/7 at 212-514-5100, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting our law firm in Lower Manhattan (42 Broadway, Suite 1927). You can also ask us questions through the 24-hour chat box on our website (www.plattalaw.com). We offer free consultations for all potential personal injury cases.