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NY Appellate Court Says Plaintiff Failed to Prove Case in Slip and Fall


An action was filed by a woman for the personal injury that she sustained as a result of a slip and fall while boarding on a bus owned and operated by the city transit authority. It is certain that it was snowing at the time of the accident and the woman was a passenger on the bus which got stuck in snow and slush at a bus stop. The woman and the other passengers get off from the bus at the bus stop onto the sidewalk to wait for another bus. After waiting for approximately 20 minutes, another bus arrived and stopped alongside the stranded bus. When the woman walked into the street and in front of the stranded bus to get on the second bus, she slipped and fell on the snow in the road and fractured her right elbow.

The woman initiated a legal action alleging negligence on the part of the city transit authority for their failure to equip the stranded bus with snow tires or snow chains, and for failing to provide the woman with a safe place to board to the second bus. A New York Injury Lawyer said the jury found that the city transit authority was liable for failing to equip the bus with proper snow tires or chains but did not find that they negligently failed to provide a safe place for the passengers in boarding to the replacement bus. Consequently, the jury awarded the woman for $450,000 in damages.

The city transit authority however moved to set aside the judgment and dismiss the woman’s action, or alternatively, to reduce the award. The city transit authority argued that since the jury found that they are not negligent on the issue of a safe place of the woman when boarding to the replacement bus, it was inconsistent to find that they failed to install snow tires on the disabled bus and was a significant factor in causing the woman’s personal injuries. The city transit authority further argued that the manner in which the accident happened was so attenuated from the alleged act of negligence that the failure to install snow chains or tires cannot be consider a significant factor in causing the accident. The trial court denied the motion. Consequently, the appellate division however reverses the decision and grants the city transit authority’s motion to set aside the decision.

On appeal, the city transit authorities properly argue that the woman failed to prove that they have a duty to put snow tires or chains on buses in snowstorms. Further, the city transit authorities also correctly assert that even if such duty existed, the alleged negligent act of failing to put snow chains or tires on the bus was not a significant factor in causing the woman’s slip and fall as she walked to the replacement bus.

Consequently, an NYC Personal Injury Lawyer said the woman simply did not introduce any evidence that snow tires are ever used on city buses, or that the normal tires are inadequate for snow conditions. Nor was there any evidence that chains were ever used or that they were useful on city buses. Indeed, the only evidence as to snow tires was that city buses never use them, and the only evidence as to chains was that it is physically possible to put them on the wheels of a bus.

In the case, the woman alighted safely and waited in safety for another bus for 20 minutes after alighting. Therefore, the city transit authorities fulfilled their duty to the woman. The court did not address the issue of city transit authority’s duty to provide a safe place for the woman in boarding since the jury determined that they had met their duty. Consequently, a New York City Personal Injury Lawyer said the court found that city transit authorities breached no duty of care to the woman.

No one knows what will happen every time we are outside of our homes. We cannot predict an accident that might come our way, but if you believe that someone should be responsible for the accident that you experienced, feel free to ask help from the NY Accident Lawyer or NY Personal Injury Lawyer. If one of your family members obtained injuries because of a slip and fall, the NY Slip and Fall Lawyer at Stephen Bilkis and Associates can offer you credible legal services.

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