Vehicular accidents are quite common at present although roadways are always maintained and kept at top condition to prevent the occurrences of car accidents. However, most of the time, when met with a mishap, a driver will immediately point the blame at someone without considering his or her actions that might have contributed to it. Some people pin the blame on drivers in front or on the other lane and there are also times when some blame road signs and conditions for their crashes. Although there are some legitimate claims wherein people got compensated for claims against missing road signs and warnings for hazards, some fail to prove their claims against the State for running into road accidents. Let us take a look how this may happen in one of the cases that was examined by one of our top experts.
On a damp and cloudy morning in November 1952, a couple was driving to a meeting when the husband, Howard W. Naulty pulled over the side of the road and let his wife, Melba Naulty, drive the rest of the way. The husband then concentrated on making his notes for the said meeting and they were pleasantly driving at a speed of 40mph on a steep and winding road when the vehicle veered to the right and wheels were caught on a depressed shoulder. In an attempt to correct the car’s position, Melba Naulty tried to regain the car’s composure, which only made it swerve to the left and back to the right side of the road until the couple found themselves once and for all out of the road across a field into a small furrow and further skidded and rolled over until it came to a stop.
Witnesses from a nearby house immediately called for help and an ambulance was dispatched to take the couple to a nearby hospital. In the hospital, Melba Naulty was examined by a doctor and was found to have sustained a big bump in the head, some possibly fractured rib, back pain, lower rib tenderness and abdominal pain. She was put on a cast for several months to correct the fractures on her rib and on the vertebral column. Howard Naulty, however was only treated for minor injuries but he also suffered headaches and back pain and incurred minimum hospital expenses.
After a few days, the couple consulted a lawyer who took them to the site to take pictures and investigate. They collected enough evidences and made claims against the State of New York (Defendant) for failing to put up enough road signs that indicated that Route 20-A was a steep winding road. In addition, the State failed to indicate that the shoulder had a considerable drop off and was not level with the paved portion of the road. Melba and Howard Naulty (Plaintiffs) claimed that the State was liable for the drop off and lack of signs which resulted to their injuries. While claims were made against the State for being negligent, Melba Naulty truthfully admitted that when the car lost control, she released the gas pedal but never released the steering wheel. She also didn’t hit the brakes to make the car stop. Was this distracted driving?
According to the report, the State shall only be liable to the Plaintiffs if there was indeed fault in the construction and maintenance and sign availability in the area, that resulted to the injury and that a road is only considered safe when a diligent person can travel over the road safely. Moreover, according to our study, the Plaintiffs must prove that the reason why they sustained the injuries is because of the fault found on the road at the time of the car accident. Witnesses and testimonies were given by both parties and the Plaintiffs further increased their monetary claims against the State.
The State (Defendant) then passed a motion to dismiss the old and new claims made by the couple following the accident. After much deliberation, the Court finds that although the couple presented witnesses who claimed that there have been accidents that happened in the area prior to their experience, the claim was inconclusive because there were no evidences presented and no witnesses to the previous accidents in the area were called by the Plaintiffs’ counsel to support the claim. In addition, nobody ever complained about the danger that the winding road posed to motorists; not even the residents who witnessed the accident did. Also, the State produced witnesses who testified that driving at Melba’s speed of 40mph was definitely safe even in wet conditions, which meant that it was her fault why they veered off the road and sustained injuries.
Our expert also discussed that the court further found out that there are adequate signs that alert motorists about the winding road and that the depression on the shoulder was a result of rain prior to the day that the couple passed by the road. The Plaintiffs were clearly trying to justify their circumstance and are protesting against the depression on the shoulder which, according to them, resulted in their accident. This was found to be inconclusive since Melba failed to hit the brakes and also failed to use the road shoulder for emergency. It didn’t even occur to her to do that, which is what shoulders are used for when a car loses control. Therefore, it was also concluded that the depression on the shoulder did not cause the car to lose control, instead, Melba’s negligent driving contributed to the car’s right wheels falling on the bank. She could have stayed on the bank or shoulder and hit the brakes but she did not.
The Plaintiff’s counsel also failed to refute their claim that the State is negligent in providing signs and road maintenance, since Plaintiffs as well as Defendant’s (State) witnesses stated that there were two signs that sufficiently warned incoming vehicles of the winding road ahead. Moreover, although there was a drop-off where the shoulder meets the paved road, the fact that the Plaintiffs did not plant to use the shoulder for emergency purposes made their claim against a faulty shoulder useless. Our study reports further that the court ruled the couple only accidentally veered to the right because of the driver’s loss of control, which directly contributed to their injuries. As a result of this accident, the couple sustained injuries that impaired Melba’s spinal column for life, resulting to weakness and occasional pain. This, according to the court, may not be attributed to the State’s but to her own negligence. The court rules in favor of the Defendant and the motion for dismissal of the Naulty’s claims was recognized by the court
When confronted with an accident like this, do not take matters into your own hands; instead, let a professional New York Car Accident Lawyer assist you to make a claim against a person who must be held liable for your present situation. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, we will provide you with the best NY Personal Injury Lawyer who could help you win your case and demand your rightful claim. We also represent companies and people who find themselves in deep trouble with claimants who would do just about anything to squeeze money out of innocent people like you. Protect your rights! Call our office now.