Finding the right New York Bicycle Accident Attorney is important to your case. The way the courts treat these cases differs depending on where you are. The below case helps show how a case moves through the justice system in New York.
Helping Your New York Bicycle Accident Attorney Understand The Facts
The first thing any attorney is going to want is to know the facts. In this case, a supervisor with the Department of Transportation for the City of New York and his crew arrived at the east entrance of Central Park’s 65th Street to repair a roadway defect. The crew closed the east entrance and then went westbound. As they drove through an underpass, the supervisor observed the problem. The supervisor saw a series of deep depressions in the westbound lane. Having located the area in need of repair, the supervisor closed it to traffic with cones.
As the supervisor placed the cones, plaintiff and her companion arrived at the west entrance on bicycles. They asked the supervisor if they could use the roadway. The supervisor replied it was “okay to go through.” They came upon the depressions as plaintiff and her companion rode along the transverse. Because of darkness in the tunnel, plaintiff did not see one of the depressions until she was almost upon it. She injured herself attempting to avoid the holes.
How the Case Began
Your New York Bicycle Accident Attorney will have to help you decide if your case should go to trial. In this case, the victim started this case against the City of New York. She sought recovery for her injuries. After trial, the jury found that the roadway was reasonably safe. It also found that the City did not create nor have notice of the dangerous condition. However, the jury found the City supervisor negligent. The jury held that the plaintiff was 40% at fault and the City was 60% at fault for the accident.
The City moved to set aside the verdict. They argued that it engaged in a governmental function at the time of the accident. The lower court granted the motion. This means it agreed with the City. The New York Bicycle Accident Attorney then appealed to the higher court. A divided higher court agreed with the lower court decision. The allowed an appeal to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals is the highest court in New York.
The New York Bicycle Accident Attorney argued to the court that highway maintenance, repair and warnings for roadway hazards are activities that may subject municipalities to fault. This is especially true when highway personnel or planners perform the work. The City argued that its supervisor was engaged in traffic control. They argued this is traditionally a governmental function. They felt this meant the City is immune from liability.
The Court of Appeals repeatedly held that a municipality engaged in a governmental function is immune from normal negligence suits. A municipality engaged in a proprietary function is subject to suit under the ordinary rules of negligence. A governmental entity undertakes a proprietary role when its activities essentially supplement or substitute for traditionally private enterprises. A governmental entity is deemed to have been engaged in a governmental function when its acts are “undertaken for the protection and safety of the public pursuant to the general police powers.”
Historically, the Courts hold that both private entities and local governments perform the maintenance of roads and highways. Each are subject to the ordinary rules of negligence. The attorney used this to his advantage. The high court held that the supervisor was doing a proprietary function when he failed to warn plaintiff. The supervisor was in Central Park on the day of the accident specifically to oversee the road project. At the time he failed to warn plaintiff, he blocked the road to traffic.
Although the work had not yet begun, his crew could not have repaired the roadway without having closed the road to traffic. In other words, his act of closing the entry to travel was integral to the repair job. Accordingly, the court held in favor of the client and the New York Bicycle Accident Attorney. They then sent the case back to the lower court. To receive results like this amidst your accident, it is important to contact a law firm as soon as possible.