It is, probably, one of anybody’s worst nightmares, but especially so if you are a senior. You’re standing on the curb waiting to cross safely. You wait until the pedestrian signal tells you to proceed, and only then do you step forward. As you’re in the intersection, though, you’re faced with a large vehicle that has turned a corner and is coming straight for you. These “nightmare” scenarios are, unfortunately, a reality on too many occasions. For the family of one New York City woman, they at least won a small measure of solace by winning their case to hold a truck driver and his employer liable.
The victim in this tragic accident was an elderly woman in Manhattan. On the day before Thanksgiving in 2013, the woman was attempting to cross the street when a Con Ed truck, whose driver was making a left hand turn, hit her. She was taken to a hospital but died as a result of her injuries.
The family sued Con Ed and the driver for wrongful death. As part of their approach to obtaining compensation, the family asked the trial judge to grant summary judgment in their favor. Summary judgment is a motion where the attorney for either party asks the Court to decide certain issues, in this case who is responsible for the accident, by reading motion papers. If the Court rules in the plaintiff’s favor then a trial on liability is not necessary.
For plaintiffs like this, summary judgment motions can be very helpful. When they succeed, they allow you, as the plaintiff, to hold the other side liable without having to go through the pain and the stress of a full trial with witnesses, experts, direct examination, cross-examination, and so on.
The case this family presented was sufficient to justify winning on summary judgment. Sometimes success can be very complex, and sometimes the key can be fairly straightforward. The crux of this family’s success was establishing conclusively that the pedestrian was crossing the street with a “WALK” signal in her favor. That proof established that she had the right of way. New York law says that when you, as a pedestrian, have the right of way, you also have the right “to anticipate that motorists will obey the traffic laws that require them to yield.”
Thus, in this case, the plaintiffs had proof that the pedestrian had the right of way, which meant that she was entitled to expect the truck to yield the right of way, which the driver did not do. Without any evidence that the pedestrian was also somehow partly at fault (which the defense didn’t have here), that meant that the family was entitled to a judgment in their favor and could go forward in pursuit of damages without having to go through a burdensome trial.
When a loved one has been killed in an accident for which another person was at fault, it is an extremely overwhelming time. In these moments, you need an advocate, an experienced accident lawyer, to protect your family and your legal rights, you have to act promptly. The attorneys at the law offices of Jacob Oresky understand that your case is about more than just a civil legal action for damages. It is about the loss of your cherished loved one. Our team of New York City wrongful death attorneys has many years of experience handling these cases throughout the New York metro area, including in Westchester County and on Long Island. We offer our clients personalized attention and an intensive focus on detail in every aspect of their cases. With our team on your side, you can concentrate on your family, while we focus on getting justice.
For a free case evaluation, contact us online or call our office at 718-993-9999. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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