11/28/2012 // New York, NY, USA // New York Injury Accident Lawyer // Jonathan C. Reiter // (press release)
Pedestrian Accident Attorney Report — A young man, who had moved to New York City recently to study design, tripped on trash bags, which caused him to fall into the roadway where a New York Sanitation Department truck struck and killed him on October 23, 2012. The young man, aged 31, was crossing E. 84th Street in Manhattan, at 1:20 a.m. when he was struck. EMS was called and removed him to New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the truck remained at the scene and was not charged. The garbage bags were allegedly placed on the sidewalk near a popular pizzeria Two Boots, which received a summons for a sidewalk obstruction.
According to Manhattan pedestrian accident attorney, Jonathan C. Reiter, who has handled many truck and pedestrian accidents, stated that there appears to be several parties responsible for this accident as follows: “The victim here tripped and fell over various garbage bags, into a roadway in which the Sanitation truck was traveling. The State of New York requires a full accident investigation of every fatal accident. In this case, it is unknown, pending the results of the police investigation, whether the Sanitation truck could have avoided this accident. Factors to be considered include the speed that the truck was traveling at, the lighting conditions of the roadway, and amount of time that the truck had to react. Added to the possible negligence of the truck, is the fact that the pizzeria’s garbage bags appear to have been placed in an area of pedestrian traffic, which then caused the victim to fall. Therefore, in this case, it appears likely that there was more than one tortfeasor (wrongdoer) responsible for this accident. Both parties could be sued, in which case it would be up to the jury to make the factual determination of percentage of fault for the accident”.
Mr. Reiter went on to state: “ In many accidents, more than one party is responsible for causing the accident. They are called ‘joint tortfeasors’. The law requires a showing that joint tortfeasors have acted in a manner, which contributed to causing the same accident. It is not required that joint tortfeasors act simultaneously, but that their separate actions contributed to the accident. The common law of joint and several liability, is that, each defendant in a lawsuit is responsible for all of the damages of the plaintiff. The New York legislature has modified the common law under CPLR Article 16. This law states that a defendant who is found responsible for 50% or less of the accident, is obliged to pay plaintiff’s damages only to the extent of the defendant’s equitable share of the plaintiff’s non-economic loss such as pain and suffering. The defendant is still responsible for the entirety of plaintiff’s economic loss, such as loss of income or medical expenses, and for economic losses associated with pedestrian accident wrongful death lawsuits. This is a complex area of law since Article 16 exempts certain lawsuits from its mandates entirely.”
In this very tragic case, it remains to be seen which defendants are liable for the victim’s death, and each defendants’ proportionate share of liability. Sometimes, it takes a trial and a determination by a jury to answer these issues definitively.
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