On April 15, 1952 at around 6:30 in the evening, a volunteer fireman in Latham in the town of Colonie, in Albany County fell from the back step of a fire truck and was injured. While enroute to a fire the fireman was riding on the back step of the fire truck. The truck went through a four way intersection that had a saucer shaped drainage ditch in the center of it. The drainage ditch had been installed to correct water run off problem from the private land in the area. The area was very flat and water tended to sit on the surface without running off. The installation of the drainage ditch was designed to improve the problem. In fact, it only partially solved the problem of the water run-off and created a hazardous condition in the intersection of two highways.
When the fire truck crossed over the ditch, the fireman who was on the back stated that he remembered bouncing up about three feet into the air and then he came down into the street and rolled into the drainage ditch. A bystander collected him and took him to a local doctor where he received treatment for injuries to his arm. Later that night, he sought additional treatment from the workers compensation doctor for pain to his chest. The Bronx doctor who treated him stated that he did not remember the exact visit.
In fact, his records of the visit had been lost. He read from his report that he had treated the fireman for chest injuries from his fall from the truck. About six months after that visit to the Brooklyn workers compensation doctor, the fireman began to feel dizzy and sick. He reported to the local hospital where he was found to have a subdural hematoma. A subdural hematoma is a blood clot under the skull bone against the brain. It required brain surgery and he reports that he has been unable to work since the surgery.
The fireman states that the brain injury occurred from the fall off of the fire truck and sought to recover damages. The city disagrees. They contend that the fall from the fire truck was six months prior to the brain surgery and that they see no causal link between the two.
The Supreme Court agrees that the injured fireman failed to show a causal link and due to the time span between the truck accident and the surgery, the claim is dismissed.
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