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There Ought To Be A Law

A recycling worker in Upstate New York is dead, and advocates say a lack of traffic safeguards may have been the cause.
Tioga County Sheriff’s deputies state that a vehicle travelling southbound on Pennsylvania Avenue in Apalachin struck and killed a recycling worker who was working behind his truck. In the wake of the crash, Taylor Garbage Services spokesperson Stephen Donnelly reiterated the company’s call for additional traffic control devices or reduced speed limits in areas frequented by curbside recycling workers. The vehicle driver, who was also unnamed, was treated at a local hospital for various injuries.
Taylor officials insisted that the worker was performing his job exactly as stated.

Exceptions to Tort Claims Act

Under federal and state tort claims acts, it is rather difficult to sue the government for negligence unless there are certain facts present and certain procedures followed. For example, in New York, a victim injured by a negligent government employee must file a Notice of Claim. Certain government functions, however, are outside the scope of the tort claims act. So, there are few or no restrictions on these types of lawsuits.
Proprietary functions are a very common exception. Essentially, these are duties that a borough, city, county, state, or other government must perform. Some examples include:

  • Street Maintenance: When it comes to potholes, broken sidewalks, and so on, if the government has notice of a dangerous defect and does nothing, the government may be liable for damages.
  • Traffic Control Devices: The same logic applies to speed limits, stop lights, crosswalks, and other traffic control devices.
  • Utilities: The city must make downed power lines and other hazardous conditions a top priority.

Essentially, the theory is that residents have a right to expect the government to keep its promises and do the things it is legally required to do.
If a pothole causes a car to spin out of control or a pedestrian is injured at a busy intersection without a crosswalk, damages for victims may include compensation for both economic damages, like property losses, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.
If a group fails to fulfil its legal duty and causes injury, contact an assertive personal injury attorney in New York. We have six office locations statewide.

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