On the Saturday before Memorial Day 2012, a New Brighton woman was innocently sunbathing on South Beach on Staten Island when, according to her accident report, she “felt pressure on her head.” That pressure was the front end of a 2004 Ford Suburban operated by the city Parks Department. It is unclear why the vehicle was on the sand in the first place, and even more difficult to imagine why its driver ran over a 26-year-old woman’s head.
She was lucky enough to survive, but she was pretty seriously injured. She suffered an open head wound that had to be closed with four medical staples. She also had injuries to her back, neck and shoulder and had to undergo surgery to correct the shoulder injury.
Earlier this year, she filed a lawsuit against the Parks Department and New York City, because the city is generally responsible for injuries caused by its agencies and their employees. She also filed a motion for summary judgment, which is a court filing that asks the judge to consider the evidence from the other party’s point of view and make a determination of whether that party has any chance of prevailing at trial. After allowing oral arguments, that judge ruled the city was clearly liable for the accident.
All that was left to do was to calculate her damages, and the parties have just announced a settlement in the amount of $300,000 to cover her medical costs and other losses. Despite its earlier objections, a spokesperson for the Law Department told reporters the settlement was “was in the best interest of all parties.”
It wasn’t a day at the beach, but it’s nice to know that the City of New York can be held responsible when its employees injure innocent people.
Source: Staten Island Advance, “No day at the beach: Staten Island woman hit by Parks truck while sunbathing settles lawsuit for $300,000,” Frank Donnelly, Dec. 30, 2013