Articles Posted in Staten Island

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In fall of 1989, an employee of the water department of the Town of Hempstead borrowed a city pick-up truck to drive it home. He had been allowed on several prior occasions to borrow the city truck to get home. He believed that it was OK for him to borrow it on this date to get home. On his way home, he was involved in an auto accident that resulted in serious personal injury. Following the truck accident, the injured party filed a lawsuit against the Water Department and the Town of Hempstead.

The Town of Hempstead countered that they do not feel that they should be held liable since the employee was not at work or engaged in any city business at the time of the accident. Further, he had not requested permission to borrow the truck on this date. The other times that he had been permitted to borrow the truck; he had asked for and received permission to do so. This was not the case on the night of this incident. In fact, the Staten Island employee’s job for the city did not require the use of a vehicle at all. The employee even testified that he had received specific instructions prior to the date of the accident not to take a truck home. He advised in testimony on several different occasions that no one had given him permission to use the truck on that night. He advised that he took it anyway because he needed to get home. The evidence that was presented in reference to the employee being told specifically that he could not take the truck home was not argued by either side. However, there were no prior violations by this employee or any other on file prior to the accident of the “no personal use” policy that had been implemented in the fall of 1989.

The Justices, however, ruled that since the employee had been allowed on prior occasions to use the truck, he would have believed that there was an inference of implied permission. Vehicle and Traffic Law § 388 (1) states that an owner of a motor vehicle is liable for the negligence of one who uses or operates the vehicle with the owner’s express or implied permission.

Because of this, the majority of the Westchester Justices ruled that the employee had discretion to use the vehicle and is liable to cover him in the accident.
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On July 2, 1955 at around four o’clock in the afternoon, a truck driver left the Twin Bridges bar and headed west on Route 11 between Mooers, New York, and Champlain, New York. At some point his truck came in contact with a vehicle that was eastbound. The eastbound vehicle was occupied by a male driver, his wife, two daughters, and his daughter in law. The Staten Island male driver of the car was killed in the commercial truck accident. The wife was still in the hospital and unable to testify at the time of trial. The daughters both claimed that they saw the truck shortly before impact cross over the center line of the road to sideswipe their vehicle. The daughter in law, who was seated directly behind the deceased driver stated that she had observed the truck cross the center line previously and then return to the correct side of the road. She stated that as the gap closed between the two vehicles, the driver of the truck crossed the center line again and this time hit their car with his truck.

The driver of the truck was criminally charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs and later Vehicular Homicide. He was convicted and sentenced to five years imprisonment. The jury was not privy to this information and although there was much discussion about the truck driver’s condition, there was no proof of his condition presented in the court. In fact, although it was pointed out that at the hospital following the accident, the truck driver’s blood was drawn and was given to the State Trooper, the results of that blood alcohol content kit was not discussed in the civil trial. There was not even a mention that it was or was not tested. If the jury had been told of his criminal charges and arrest, the inference could probably have been made.

However, as it stands, the victim’s family’s Westchester attorney only brought forth witnesses who could testify to the truck driver’s condition the night before while he was at the same bar. He had been so drunk that he had tossed his truck keys to another patron. He was described as being loud and boisterous and causing a scene. However it was pointed out that this was his normal demeanor even if he was sober. It was clear that he was asked to leave the bar.

The Justices found that at no time in the original trial was the term intoxication defined. The Justices also found that the evidence of his demeanor and condition from the night before was highly prejudicial. They felt that this blurred the real issue “and confused the jury to a point which deprived the defendant of a fair trial.”

In this case, judgment is reversed on the law and a new trial ordered.
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A personal injury suit was commenced against a tractor-trailer and the employer of the driver after four adults and one infant, while passengers in an automobile, sustained injuries as a result of a truck accident. The Staten Island driver of the automobile in which they were passengers died as a result of his injuries. A collision occurred between the passenger car and a tractor trailer. The tractor trailer was under lease. This case was tried by the court without a jury and the question of contributory negligence is resolved in favor of the plaintiffs. The defendants appealed.

According to records in court, the trailer truck was without load and deadheaded westward bound from Clinton, New Jersey, to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It had been raining for some time prior to and at the time of the accident. The road surface was wet and visibility was fair. The accident occurred in the early morning about one o’clock. The sources said there was failure in the tractor trailer’s engines and the passenger automobile struck the tractor which rested in its pathway.

Under the Pennsylvania law, the presence of a vehicle on the wrong side of a highway is prima facie evidence of the driver’s negligence and the skidding or sliding of a vehicle of itself does not constitute negligence of the driver. It is thus incumbent upon the plaintiffs to prove that the skidding or sliding of the vehicle was due to the negligence of the driver. The operator of a motor vehicle is bound at all times to exercise reasonable care in its operation. As sliding or skidding of itself does not constitute negligence, something additional must be shown to justify a finding of negligence.

Applying these principles to the case at bar, the Westchester court found negligence in the operation of the trailer truck. The court noted that it is apparent that the trailer tractor failed to keep traction while proceeding up the grade necessary to remain in its lane. Although its first sliding may not have been anticipated, after its driver had straightened out and gained control of the vehicle, since the highway was then free of other traffic, he should have reasonably attempted to ascertain the cause of the slide in order to avoid its repetition, the court said. This he failed to do, and there was no explanation given for the second sliding of the trailer truck.

Accordingly, the court found that the tractor-trailer driver failed to exercise reasonable care in the operation of the trailer truck.

The court also found the employer of the tractor-trailer driver chargeable with the negligence. The lease covering the tractor-trailer provides that the tractor-trailer is solely and exclusively under the direction and control of the lessee.
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On November 4, 2003 at a construction site on Cantiague Rock Road in Hicksville, New York, an employee of a concrete company was injured. He was working as a concrete laborer on the site. His job on that day was to prepare a concrete frame for a lamp pole base in the parking lot area of the job site. While he was standing next to the hole that the lamp pole base was going to be put in, he was struck from behind. The blow knocked him in to the hole and caused him serious bodily injury. He never saw what struck him. Witnesses on the scene, however, stated that they observed the concrete laborer standing on the side of the hole placing the wooden frame. They stated that the concrete truck had begun to back up and apparently did not see the concrete laborer. The chute of the concrete truck was down in preparation for the pouring of the concrete into the hole. The chute struck the concrete laborer in the area of his upper back which pushed him in to the hole.

The Staten Island concrete laborer filed a law suit against the construction company, the property management company, the property owner, the concrete company’s independent contractors and the concrete company. Within the first year of the law suit, most of these companies were able to prove that they were not involved in the truck accident and had no liability connected with the accident. What was left was a lawsuit against the concrete company, the subcontractors of the concrete company, and the construction company.

The issues that are under evaluation in this suit are under Labor Law § § 240 (1), 200 and common law negligence claims. Also under consideration are Labor Law 241 (6) claims. The victim further alleges violations of the following Industrial Code regulations: 12 NYCRR §§ 23-1.23(a-c); 23-1.5(a-b); 23-1.5(c)(1,3); 23-1.7(b)(1)(I), 23-4.2(a, f-g); 23-9.7(d); 23-9.11(a).

In order for Labor Law § 241 to be applicable to this suit, the victim is required to show specific Industrial Code violations that support his cause of action. He did so and added US Dept. of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration §§ 1926.601(b)(4), 1226.651(a) and 1926.702(b). Because the victim was able to articulate and specify the applicability of Labor Law § 241 9(6) he succeeded in convincing the court that his contentions held more weight than the company’s did.

However, the victim also attempted to add to his claim that there was a large pile of debris on the accident site that he believes could have caused the accident. The company disagreed and the Court Justices stated that there was no reason to believe that if the pile of debris had not been present, that the concrete truck would not have backed up to pour the concrete. Since the concrete truck would have still had to back up to pour the concrete, the accident still would probably have occurred. The presence of the pile or lack thereof would not have altered the facts of the case that set this accident in motions. In order for the company to complete the job required by pouring the concrete into the hole, the frame had to be placed by the victim and the driver of the concrete truck still had to back up and would most likely have still hit the victim. The presence of debris has no bearing on this case. The Westchester company did not suggest any arguments to overturn the complete dismissal of the victim’s Labor Law §§ 240 (1), 200 and common law negligence claims. Because of this, they are not part of the company’s motion and cannot be affected by the decision that the Court will render.
The Court must evaluate each of the Industrial Code violations as they relate to Labor Law § 241. The first one to be considered is 23-1.23 (a-c): Earth Ramps and Runways. Since there were no earth ramps or runways that might have been involved in this accident, this Industrial Code is not relevant to the facts of this case.

Industrial code 23-1.5 (a-b) and 23-1/5 ( c ) (1,3): General Responsibility of Employers deals with health and safety protection which is required. These subsections also deal with the requirement of competency in providing workers with a work place that contains equipment in good condition and safeguards to ensure a safe working environment. Since these subsections all deal with the general responsibilities of employers they cannot be a basis for liability under Labor Law §241 (6). In order for this Law to be in effect, the victim must site specific violations and not general conclusions.

23-1.7 (b)(1)(I): Protection from General Hazards, (b) falling hazards (I ) hazardous openings does not define what is meant specifically by a “hazardous opening.” This Law is also not relevant to the accident in question because it deals with providing barricades or substantial cover over an opening. In order for the job to have been completed, this Law cannot apply since covering the opening would have prevented the pouring of the concrete to complete the job. Also, barriers would not have prevented this accident since both the concrete truck and the concrete laborer had to be present within the confines close to the hole in order to make the lamp post base.

Likewise, 23-4.2(a. f-g): Trench and area type excavations, does not apply since this was not a trench or an excavations. There were no walls that required shoring. This accident did not result of because of a slide and/or cave in.

Labor Law 23-9.7 (d) refers to the backing of trucks at construction sites. However, this law is also not applicable because there was an additional employee who was in place to observe, guide, and signal the driver of the cement truck as it was backing up. This rule also does not take in to consideration an employee standing off to one side while a vehicle is backing and getting struck by something protruding from the vehicle.

Labor law 23-9.11 (a) as it pertains to mixing machines and charging skips is not relevant since this accident did not occur as a result of walking under a charging skip. There were no charging skips involved at all. Because none of the specific Industrial Codes listed by the victim were relevant to this case, the Court finds that the victim’s Labor Law § 241 (6) claim is dismissed.
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A wife, on behalf of the estate of her late husband, commenced an action against the owners of the Westchester company employing the husband, a truck company and a steel company, to recover money damages for the wrongful death and conscious pain and suffering of her husband.

According to sources, the husband was severely injured in the course of his employment during tree cutting and removal operations when he was struck by a tree trunk which was suspended from a crane and wire rope, which were designed, manufactured and sold and distributed to his employee by the defendant companies. He died as a result of those injuries. The husband’s employer, a business involved in the storage and transportation of bleachers, was clearing property leased by it from the couple to create storage space for bleachers.

The New York Labor Law imposes a non-delegable duty on owners and contractors to provide reasonable and adequate protection to workers making them “responsible for a breach of the requirements of the statute irrespective of their control or supervision of the work site.” While the duty imposed by the law may not be delegated, the burden may be shifted to the party actually responsible for the accident either by way of claim of apportionment of damages under certain rules or by contractual language requiring indemnification by the injured worker’s employer.

In this case, the owner of the equipment, which caused the truck accident, claimed no defect in the premises themselves, but focused on the existence of a defect in the crane’s wire rope or negligence in the supervision and execution of tree cutting and removal operations. The oral lease agreement to the property owner’s family-held corporation is silent as to the details of safety rules and even as to decisions on property alterations. The Staten Island court found that there is some evidence that the couple took no part in the supervision of the operation, but that she observed the operation of the crane shortly before the accident occurred and her actual or constructive knowledge of the unsafe manner in which the operations were performed is a triable issue of fact.

The court further noted that the couple supervised the employer’s operations and appears to have been responsible for establishing equipment inspection procedures and supervising the details of tree cutting operations. Any actual or constructive knowledge the couple had in their capacity as supervisor existed, and is inseparable from his knowledge as property owner. Because exercise by the property owner of control over the details of the manner of work, or actual or constructive knowledge on the part of the property owner of an equipment defect gives rise to liability under the Labor Law, they constitute triable issues of fact.

Losing a loved one and being involved in a lawsuit as a result of the negligent acts of someone else is difficult for all. To preserve and protect your rights, there are Attorneys who will stand by you and help see you through your case. These Attorneys can argue your side and make sure that you and your loved ones are compensated.
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In March of 1974, the Supreme Court Appellate Division, First Department heard an appeal in reference to a commercial truck accident. The commercial truck was accused of being illegally double parked on the side of a one way street in New York City. An eight year old girl was playing on the sidewalk and darted out into the roadway. She was struck by a passenger car that was driving down the roadway. She stated that she had not been able to see the car coming because her line of vision was blocked by the commercial oil tanker truck. Her account of the incident was corroborated by seven witnesses and her brother in law. The witnesses were playmates and neighbors. The oil tanker company stated that they did not have a truck there at that time on that date. The driver for the oil tanker company who normally works that area stated that he was not on that street on that date.

The Queens police officer who was first on the scene, pulled up behind the passenger car that hit the child, and blocked the roadway. The detective that responded to the scene took copious measurements and drew a detailed crime scene sketch which was later copied onto a more formal diagram. Even though he did not copy all of the measurements that he originally made onto the final formal diagram, those that were on the diagram were exactly the same as the ones that he had on his informal sketch. The measurements that the officer took show that the collision occurred within 15 feet of the sidewalk. A normal lane of traffic is 12 feet. The information on the measurements with the vehicle in place and the skid marks on the roadway, clearly show that there was no room for a commercial vehicle to be double parked on the roadway. If a vehicle of any size had been located where the witnesses claimed the vehicle was located, it would have been struck by the passenger car as it swerved to the left in an attempt to avoid the child. However, even if the truck had been there, it would have had no bearing on the accident itself.

The Staten Island child darted out in to traffic in the middle of the block. The child was not in a crosswalk and had no legal reason to be in the roadway at that particular spot. The question of liability in this case which was brought up in court was misleading at best. In the original trial, there was a tremendous amount of time and testimony given to the issue of the commercial oil tanker truck. So much testimony was given to the issue of the commercial vehicle, that negligence of the passenger car driver who struck the child took second place. In fact, the Supreme Court stated that the issue became so blurred as it concerned the commercial vehicle, that it was impossible to determine if the driver who struck the child was guilty of any negligence at all. The Supreme Court decided that the only issue that should have been dealt with in the first trial should have been the negligence or lack thereof in the case of the passenger car driver who actually struck the child. The Supreme Court further stated that it did not matter if the truck was there or not since the child was not in a crosswalk, the responsibility to cross the road safely fell entirely to her. The Court felt that even at eight years of age, she had the responsibility to look both ways and to ensure that she was able to cross the road in safety. Further, since the girl came off the curb and out into the roadway from between two parked vehicles, the court feels that it is possible that there was no fault at all on the part of the passenger car driver that hit her. A person darting out into traffic is not given the right of way in the roadway. In this case, the passenger car had the right of way when she entered the roadway. Only by showing some form of negligence on the part of the driver of the passenger car, can the child or the child’s parents as the case may be put liability on someone else. In other words, the driver of the car that hit the child would have to have been speeding, making an illegal lane change, losing control of his vehicle, or going the wrong way on the one way street in order for the accident to have been his fault. Since none of the above situations were shown, then it is doubtful that the driver of the passenger car is at fault in this accident.

In spite of all of this, the court is concerned that the question of negligence on the part of the driver of the passenger car did not get the attention that it deserved in the first trial of this case. There was overwhelming physical evidence on the scene and presented in court that the commercial oil tanker truck was not there. The transcript of the appeal states that, “Respecting the time-honored axiom that a jury’s judgment as to the facts is all but sacrosanct, the evidence of plaintiff and the non-blotter witnesses is more than countervailed by the physical principle that two bodies cannot occupy the same space simultaneously.”

The Supreme Court further stated that as to the driver of the passenger car, the only evidence of failure to control his vehicle is that he did hit the child with it. The Court states that this might have been enough of a foundation for the jury to find him liable if not for the clouding of the issue by the topic of the commercial oil truck.

Because of this, the court ruled to overturn the original verdict in this case and to order a new trial on the clear issue of negligence, uncomplicated by the issue of if a commercial truck was there or not.
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In the morning of October in 1969, a 40-year old woman was involved in a car accident and sustained serious personal injuries while operating her automobile eastbound on New York State Route 17. According to sources, the automobile struck a cement brick located on the roadway.

The Staten Island woman filed an action against a company manufacturing split limestone alleging that it had negligently loaded concrete building blocks upon a truck that it owned or controlled, with the result that one or more of these blocks fell on to the pavement of Route 17 and caused the unfortunate automobile accident. The manufacturing company has a policy of liability insurance.

An investigation on the accident was held and showed that prior to the day of the accident, the truck, while heading eastbound on Route 17, broke down a short distance to the east of Binghamton on Route 17. The truck was carrying split limestone, for delivery. The truck was towed to another location and the manufacturer borrowed another truck from a car leasing company. The borrowed truck was the one involved in the accident. The borrowed truck was also insured.

The Manhattan insurance company denied liability and alleged that the borrowed truck had not passed the scene of the accident until after the accident had occurred. However, the investigation on the part of the woman showed that the borrowed truck, loaded with split limestone, passed the scene of the Truck accident before its occurrence.

An action was also filed against the insurance company of the truck involved in the accident. However, the truck’s insurance company asked the court to dismiss the complaint saying it did not know or was not notified of the accident or the facts of the accident. The woman also said she did not know that the truck was insured.

The court found that the woman, being primarily involved in the accident, had the responsibility to inquire as to the existence of insurance coverage as soon as she knew that the truck involved in the truck accident was insured. The court ruled that the woman cannot be excused for failing to know that if any truck under the control of the manufacturing company was involved in the accident, it had to be the truck borrowed from a leasing company. The woman’s failure to notify the leasing company and its insurer of their potential liability so they could conduct their own investigation until almost 13 months later constitutes a violation of the notice conditions of the policy as matter of law.

The court pointed out that an insurance policy requirement that notice be given as soon as practicable requires that notice be given within a reasonable time, and failure to give such notice, it is well settled, vitiates the contracts as to both the insured and the party recovering a judgment against the insured.
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According to city authorities, the truck accident that happened just after midnight last Thursday claimed the life of a 53-year-old male.

The police department and a trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety responded to a report an accident involving a big rig. When they arrived on the scene, they found EMS medics trying to resuscitate an unresponsive male who was lying on the side of the road.

The 55-year-old driver of the semi was obviously disturbed as he spoke to police. He was not physically injured. According to his report, he was driving southbound in the outside lane at approximately 50 mph when he noticed someone “come out of nowhere and crouch in the road.”

He immediately swerved into the inside lane in an effort to avoid him, but the pedestrian stood up and was struck by the truck.

The truck driver pulled over as quickly as he could and ran back to the victim who was lying unresponsive in the roadway. He also saw a brown dog lying in the road as well. It is unknown if the dog belonged to the victim or not. It’s possible the man was trying to save him.

The Queens truck driver called 911 and told the dispatchers that he was going to drag the body off the roadway and onto the shoulder to keep himself and the injured man safe from other passing vehicles.

The EMS medics said the man had no signs of life when they began to work on him. A Lawyer said that the 53-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene with “massive physical trauma caused by the crash.”

The Justice of the Peace, who happened to be on the scene, did not order an autopsy and did not request a blood sample from the driver. The trucker, however, volunteered his blood, which was taken at a local hospital. The results of the testing will go to the Department of Public Safety. No one involved in the case expects any negative findings.

Even though there were “no indications of any type of driver impairment,” the driver has probably saved himself against litigation by volunteering his blood, an Attorney from Staten Island said. He will lay any claims to rest that he was at fault in this situation.
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A crash involving a tractor trailer injured the police chief of Ozark, Arkansas. The new chief had been in pursuit of a Franklin County escapee.

A bystander who was eating with his family across the street from the truck accident says he could tell the vehicles involved in the wreck could not see each other. “I looked up across the street and I seen the police car…. and I seen that truck, and that truck – he just didn’t see it,” he said.
The chief’s police car ran under the tractor trailer as he was in pursuit of an escapee.

The eyewitness reported that the chief didn’t speak and was shaking. He appeared to be in shock. Just before he was airlifted to St. Ed’s in Fort Smith, the assistant police chief told others he had started talking again. The chief was released a short time later.

A sergeant investigating the accident said that it appeared that as the police chief was approaching the junction of Airport Road and Highway 219, an 18-wheeler was pulling off the interstate into the truck stop.

The 26-year-old escapee was still on the loose with the county sheriff and deputies in pursuit.
The man had apparently escaped during a transfer from the jail to the courthouse. The sheriff reported that “Since we’re just a block away, we will transport them by walking them across, and he broke free from the bailiff.” Within a minute of the escape, the deputies were in pursuit.

The accused man stole a vehicle from an area business, and police were forced to follow him in chase. The man was apprehended again on Stagecoach Road.

For safety reasons, areas schools were locked down until the inmate was captured.
A rep says it’s a widely adopted practice to shut down schools when a convict is loose.

Children are of the highest priority and if keeping them sequestered inside during a chase gives them any extra chance to avoid injury, the school officials are doing the right thing.

Referring back to the police chief’s injury a source says the accident was most likely the chief’s fault. He may have been new to the area and not quite familiar with the common exits of truckers at that particular junction. It appears that the chief was just in a hurry and didn’t have time to see and react to the tractor trailer’s presence.

Queens and Staten Island have the same concerns.

While the cause was just, the outcome is unfortunate.
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Wednesday in Waco, TX, two cars became tangled in phone and cable lines with live power lines hovering over them.

“There were some very dangerous moments,” bystanders said.

An 18-wheeler snagged the power lines and caused a chain reaction that brought traffic to a complete standstill.

With live wires surrounding them, several drivers were stuck in their cars for a half hour.  While they waited for the all clear to step out of their line-wrapped cars, reports of how scary the ordeal was seeped out.

The truck accident happened when a semi-truck that was transporting a tall muffler ran into the overhead power lines. The four cars following the truck had no time to react.
“It made these lines like a slingshot action,” says one of the drivers, “it snapped back and completely broke off the post on the other side.”

A passenger in the same car saw the truck snag the lines and told the driver, “I told my buddy ‘watch out.’ As soon as I said that, it was already coming down.”

Multiple lines fell from the pole, wrapping around two of the cars.  A Waco Police Officer said, “The cable lines and phone lines dropped, which actually ended up on top and underneath those vehicles.”

When the first driver realized what kind of danger they were in, he turned toward the driver in the car next to his. Because she was reacting with a “what do I do, what do I do?” perplexity, he quickly rolled his window down and told her to stay inside her vehicle.

A witness said that serious injury or death could have resulted if the passengers had tried to exit the vehicles with live wires on the ground.

Once the fire and electric crews could verify that the lines were indeed phone and cable lines, everyone in the cars was given permission to get out.

Crews then had to work to clear the area. Traffic was blocked for most of the rest of the day as the clearing took place. This type of accident is unusual in Queens or Staten island.
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