Highest Appeals Court Holds NYC Liable for $20M Award to 12 yr old Bicyclist Struck By Speeding Motorist

On December 22, 2016 the New York State Court of Appeals upheld a jury verdict against New York City and a speeding motorist who struck a 12 year old boy/bicyclist who was crossing Gerritsen Avenue, Brooklyn in the middle of the block. Police investigators determined that the motorist was going 54 mph in a 30 mph zone based on skid marks. The jury awarded the boy $35.5 million dollars. The Trial Court reduced the award to $26 million dollars. An intermediate Appellate Court agreed with the City that the award was still too high and reduced it again to $20 million dollars. The boy suffered traumatic brain injuries resulting in significantly impaired cognitive and motor functioning preventing him from ever working.

The jury found that the boy was 10% at fault, the speeding motorist 50% at fault, and the City 40%. The motorist likely had at best $100,000 in auto insurance coverage - many people only purchase the minimum required of $25,000. Once found 1% or more responsible, the City will be required to pay upwards of 90% of the award, since the boy was 10% responsible. Why would the City be held liable?

The City had received numerous prior complaints that cars were speeding on Gerritsen Avenue which was often used for drag racing. Many people in the neighborhood had described Gerritsen Avenue as a racetrack and even local politicians had implored the City do do something. A municipality has a legal duty to keep its roads safe from dangerous potholes as well as reckless drivers.  The jury agreed with the plaintiff's roadway expert who explained that the City should have, but never conducted a proper roadway study and implemented a plan to resolve the dangerous "racetrack" like conditions. The expert explained how the City should have implemented "traffic calming measures" including: speed bumps, narrowed lanes, rumble strips and raised cross walks which are known to slow down traffic.

Ronald C. Burke, Esq

Trial Attorney with 30+ Years of Experience Attorney Ronald C. Burke, Esq. has more than 30 years of experience and has focused his career on representing clients in cases involving personal injury, medical malpractice and legal malpractice. He is a seasoned trial lawyer and has won many seven-figure settlements and verdicts for his clients over the years, including many case victories listed among the largest in the history of the New York State. He has been featured in the news and is a regular lecturer for the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as having lectured before the New York State Bar Association. Ron is also an attorney with Kelner & Kelner, a New York personal injury law firm. Awards and Accolades Mr. Burke's awards and accolades are many. Among them, he has been included in New York Super Lawyers® each year since 2010, and he has received the highest-possible AV® Rating from Martindale-Hubbell®. Verdict Search, a part of the New York Law Journal, frequently recognizes his notable successes after winning some of the highest settlements and verdicts in past years. He was also featured in their list of the "Top New York Verdicts " and "Top New York Settlements." He is a member of the New York State Bar Association and is licensed to practice law in the U.S. District Court for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, as well as before the United States Supreme Court. When Attorney Burke is not handling legal malpractice cases, he is highly involved in the local community. He was a member of the Village of Rockville Centre Volunteer Fire Department, has served on the local school board and as Chairman of the local Zoning Board. Learn more about Attorney Burke and how he can skillfully handle your malpractice case by contacting the Law Offices of Ronald C. Burke, Esq. right away to schedule your complimentary case evaluation. Our firm is here to help! Contact a New York Legal Malpractice Attorney Our firm provides each client's case with thorough preparation and aggressive representation, ensuring that you win the best possible results for your case whether it is settled or goes to trial. As a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Burke can provide the strong and relentless representation you need to establish negligence in a legal malpractice case and to recover any damages you may have suffered. Our firm can recover compensation for pre-trial and trial malpractice, violations of fee arrangements, loss of income, pain and suffering, and much more. Contact us today!


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