On July 1 my friend was killed in a fatal 2 vehicle auto accident in Hauppauge, NY. The intersection where the accident occurred is, I have read, notoriously dangerous, the scene of several accidents. I believe there is only a stop sign, and very limited liability, which seems to have caused the crash. Is it possible for her husband to sue the appropriate municipality? If so, what would be the basis of the suit?
4 Answers from Attorneys
Yes, depending upon its design and knowledge of prior incidents. There are time and municipality notice requirements involved. I have offices in Fla and NYC should you wish to discuss further.
A municipality is liable for injuries sustained by a passenger or operator of a motor vehicle, bicycle or motorcycle, as well as pedestrians, for negligent design and/or maintenance of the municipality's roadways. Normally, the courts require the municipality's negligence to be a substantial factor in contributing to the accident/injury. Apart from the testimony of witnesses and unusual number of prior accidents at the location, one needs the report of a seasoned transportation engineer to verify the need for redesign and or maintenance upgrades to prevent further preventable accidents/injuries. There are also requirements for prior notice of defects to the municipality's transportation authority. You may contact my office to further discuss your concerns.
The short answer is yes, there is a potential claim to be asserted against the municipality. The first step is to ensure that proper notice is provided to the proper authority. Whether this road falls under the auspices of the State, the County, or local municipality will have an impact on to whom a notice of claim must be served, and the theory of liability to be pursued. While design defect claims can be successfully prosecuted, the reality is municipalities are afforded a great deal of discretion when it comes to the design of roads, and the time frame for making corrections to conditions that may be defective. For this reason it is as important to look at factors such as the vehicle itself, its safety features, and whether those features functioned properly when evaluating the entire claim, to ensure that all avenues of recourse are fully pursued on behalf of the deceased party and her estate. If your friend would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact this office for a free consultation at an appropriate time.
First, let me say that I am very sorry for your loss. The answer is you may have an action against the municipality if a number of factors are met. The key is to conduct an investigation and obtain all of the available information as soon after the accident as possible. Time is of the essence.
Call me, Pasquale Calcagno, Esq., at 1(800)WE-FIGHT for a free consultation. I look forward to speaking with you and fighting hard for your friends rights.
Related Questions & Answers
Can you sue an insurance company twice for the same thing. Asked 7/03/11, 6:34 am in United States New York Personal Injury Law and Tort Law