Jacob is driving home to reunite with his family for the Easter weekend.
Exit 19 on the New York State Thruway is approaching. He engages his right
hand directional light and enters the exit lane. Unfortunately, it is
dark out and he has no chance to see a pothole on the off ramp. Even though
he is driving below the posted speed limit, the pothole is too large.
His tire blows out and Jacob’s desperate attempt to keep the vehicle
under control is fruitless. He runs through a guardrail and the airbag
deploys as the car tumbles down an embankment.
Kingston personal injury attorneys see these types of accidents on all roadways in the Mid-Hudson Valley
region of New York. Winter conditions are a main cause of potholes on
roadways. In fact, winter damage extends beyond just dangerous road conditions.
Sidewalks become cracked and distorted, so do parking lot surfaces. Even
exterior stairways rot under the burden of ice and snow, causing treacherous
damage to stepping surfaces.
In the case of Jacob’s hypothetical accident recited above, it is
possible for Jacob to hold the entity responsible for maintaining the
off ramp liable for any and all damages he experienced as a result of
his injury. In this case, the State of New York could be liable.
The state agency must have had notice of the dangerous pothole and an opportunity
to repair the defect. Jacob’s attorney would have to prove such.
Jacob’s attorney would also have to show that the State’s
failure to repair the roadway amounted to negligence.
Imagine that Jacob was riding a motorcycle instead of driving a car. Undoubtedly
his injuries will be more numerous and greater in severity. But the same
rules apply no matter if the victim is riding a motorcycle or driving
a car. Any person, company, or governmental body charged with maintaining
the soundness of a roadway can be held liable in a court of law if they
negligently fail to do so and that negligence causes someone injury and damages.
Now change Jacob’s hypothetical a bit. Imagine that he did not get
into an accident on the off ramp. Instead, imagine that he exited the
highway and turned into the parking lot of a local diner. The winter has
been harsh and the thawing and refreezing of melted water has caused the
sidewalk leading up to the diner entrance to buckle. The diner owner saw
this and figured he would get around to fixing it at some point.
Jacob, approaching the diner entrance, tripped on the uneven sidewalk and
broke his arm when he fell to the ground. Jacob might have been able to
see the hazard had the sidewalk been lit or if a warning sign alerted
him to the danger.
Fortunately, premises liability laws and theories allow Jacob to sue the
diner owner for damages associated with his injury. All property owners
must keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. The property
must be inspected and remediated. If the owner/operator knew of the hazard
or should of known about it, and failed to fix it or warn of the danger,
he/she may be liable to people injured by the hazard.
Change Jacob’s hypothetical again. Imagine that he made it to his
destination safely. He arrives at his sister’s apartment complex
where he will stay for a few days. Three steps up the wooden staircase
leading to his sister’s second floor apartment, his foot breaks
through the step. Falling backward down the stairs, Jacob is lucky that
the fall isn’t that far. Unfortunately, his leg remains stuck in
the step when he falls, and his shin suffers a compound fracture.
It turns out that the stair case was rotted from winter snow and ice. Just
like the diner accident above, if the apartment owner knew or should have
known that the staircase was dangerous to people, the owner could be held
liable for Jacobs injuries.
Although spring is upon us, the remnants of winter are still being experienced.
From winter damage resulting in roadway pot holes to cracked sidewalks
and rotted outdoor staircases; personal injuries can easily occur from
contact with such property damage. Contact your Kingston personal injury
attorney as soon as possible to get the compensation you are entitled to.
Our personal injury attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O’Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious car accidents, particularly
throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and
Newburgh where we have offices. If you or a loved one has been injured
in a personal injury accident, please do not hesitate to
contact us by calling 845-340-HURT (4878), or by using convenient
case evaluation form.