According to recent reports, residents of the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bensonhurst are upset that that city has not addressed an overpass that they say is an “accident waiting to happen.” Many large trucks passing through the area cannot clear the low height of the overpass, and neighbors say that the warning sign currently in place is much too small for visibility.
The overpass, located at Bay Parkway and 86th Street, was the site of a near-miss caught on camera recently when a car carrier was barely able to clear the 12-foot, 4-inch elevated subway platform. Neighbors confirmed that the near miss is a common occurrence and worry that one day a large truck will hit the elevated platform and cause a serious accident. They say that several trucks have already sustained damage from hitting the overpass and that there are frequent traffic delays due to trucks attempting to back up when the drivers realize they cannot clear the platform.
When Is the City Liable for An Accident?
The city, county or state may be responsible for injuries sustained in an accident when the agency responsible for maintaining safe road conditions acts negligently. This means that the municipality or other governing body that is responsible for the roads must address issues such as signage, dangerous potholes or cracks, debris and other hazards in a timely manner and use reasonable measures to ensure driver and pedestrian safety.
While the city or county may be responsible for maintaining the roads, it does not follow that all accidents that result from dangerous road conditions are the fault of the government. For example, during a blackout or bad weather, traffic signals may stop working. The city has a duty to address this issue, but they must also be allowed reasonable time in which to act. An accident that occurs two minutes after a blackout could probably not be blamed on the city, as officials would not have had sufficient time to react. However, two days after a bad weather incident that took out a traffic signal, the city should have had time to repair the damage or to place an alternative method of traffic control at that intersection. If city officials failed to do so, it is possible it could have liability for injuries sustained in an accident at that intersection.
If you believe your accident and resulting injuries were caused by a government agency’s failure to act, contact the personal injury attorneys at the Fitzgerald Law Firm in New York immediately.