Winning is fun, especially when it’s a win not only for your client, but for many other people as well. I am proud to say I recently helped win a victory for people injured through the negligence of governmental entities such as counties, cities and school districts. In New York, these entities are known as “public corporations”. Let me explain.
The case, Newcomb v Middle Country Central School District, was about a teenager struck by a hit-and-run car while attempting to cross an intersection near his high school. He suffered a life-altering brain injury. His parents hired a lawyer who, among other things, tried to investigate whether other people, besides the driver, might have contributed to accident. In other words, was anyone besides the driver at fault? The lawyer did everything he could to get his hands on the police file. But unfortunately the police delayed eight months in getting the lawyer the photos of the accident scene, the police report and other investigative materials.
Once the lawyer got the photos, he noticed that the School District had placed a temporary sign (announcing a high school musical) at the corner of the intersection. The sign appeared to obstruct the line of sight between pedestrian and driver. This was likely a cause of the pedestrian not seeing the car approaching, and the driver not seeing the teenager as he stepped off the curb.