Hit & Run in New York-Who’s Responsible?

Hi. Come on in. I’m Gerry Oginski, a New York personal injury
trial attorney. Today’s video is about a hit and run accident
that happened in Cedarhurst, Long Island. And why am I going to tell you about this? You can look here, it’s reported in Newsday,
Saturday, January 8th, 2011. The reason I want to tell you about it, I
want you to understand what a personal injury trial lawyer looks for when somebody like
this comes to our office to evaluate whether or not there’s liability and responsibility
in a case like this. So let me give you the fact pattern. Two young men have just left a New Year’s
Eve party, it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, and they decided to walk home. They did the right thing instead of getting
into a car. They had been offered a chance to come home
– to get a ride home – with the host of the party but they declined. They were walking in the street and were hit
by a car that failed to stop. Now, here’s the important factual part that’s
reported in the article. And listen to this. It says, “To avoid snow covered sidewalks,
the two 21 year-olds walked east on West Broadway’s right shoulder, side by side. They were deep in conversation and they never
heard the car coming.” So now, in order to determine if there is
liability, there are two things we need to look at. The first is why were they in the roadway
– in the shoulder of the roadway? What prompted them to go from the sidewalk
area into the roadway? And two, we look to see what responsibility
the driver had to prevent this accident from happening? So let’s talk about the first one. What caused these gentlemen to go into the
roadway to begin with? Well, about a week and a half ago, we had
a blizzard here in New York and as a result there was snow still piled up on the sides
of the road. So obviously, the snow prevented these guys
from walking down the sidewalk. Well, two things come to mind. Number one: was there a property owner that
had a legal responsibility to keep that sidewalk clear and free of snow and ice? There may have been. Number two: who plowed this particular roadway? Was it a town, was it a county? You have to determine who’s responsible for
putting the snow in that position that prevented people from walking where they normally walk. So now we shift that focus to look to see
what the driver did. A driver in New York is tasked with seeing
everything that’s there to be seen. Now what’s that mean? It means they have an obligation and a responsibility
to see everything that’s in front of them. To be cognizant of obstacles in their path,
of other drivers, of pedestrians. And if they failed to recognize something
that they should have seen, they will be held civilly responsible for causing and contributing
to this accident. Once we determine that the driver has liability,
we look to see if there was any other mitigating factors that may have prevented him or her
from seeing these two gentlemen on the side of the road. And that’s an important part of evaluating
a case like this. And that’s it for today’s video tip, another
terrible tragedy that could have been prevented. I’m Gerry Oginski, coming to you from New
York. Thanks for watching.

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