Always make an incident report (especially in the subway)
If you are injured through someone else’s fault, whether on a private premises, in a subway or on a city street or in a car or construction accident, it is very important that you take the extra time to properly document the accident rather than leave and worry about it later. This is particularly important in a premises liability case where a potential defendant often claims that the injured party is making the whole thing up.
One of my clients came in today and told me that while coming to the office today, he saw a woman sitting on the stairs holding her ankle and in obvious pain, with two policemen standing over her. He told me that as his train was delayed he stood and watched, and related to me what he observed.
He watched as the police helped her up and had her hop (with their help) to a nearby bench, and as they then discussed with her whether or not she wanted an ambulance (with the police telling her that she would be better served by going on her own to her primary care physician as she would get seen faster) and also discussed with her if she wanted to wait for a Transit Authority representative to come and take an accident report (with the police telling her that she would probably have to wait an hour for someone to come and she didn’t really want to waste that time, did she?). At the end of the conversation, the injured woman took the police’s advice and hopped away from the scene of her accident on the shoulder of a friend, without even an slip of paper from the police indicating that her accident had happened.
As I listened to this I immediately started thinking of writing this blog article. Should this woman see her doctor and be told that she has a badly broken ankle which needs surgery and leaves her with a permanent limp and a lifetime of pain, she has effectively lost a potential lawsuit already. What my client described is a course of conduct that the New York City Transit Authority and the New York Police Department officers stationed within the Transit system consistently engage in. And then the lawyers for the New York City Transit Authority defend this in Court as what they call a “blind accident”, i.e. an accident with no records about it and no way for the injured party to prove that her accident actually happened.
CLIENTS BEWARE – if you are injured on someone else’s premises (private or municipal) always, always, ask for an incident report to be filled out and for an ambulance to come and remove you from the scene. Take pictures when possible and obtain as much information as you can. Paris & Chaikin, PLLC has developed an IPhone app which gives you step-by-step information on what to do in the event of an accident and walks you through exactly what information to obtain. It is available for free download at the app store if you search Paris Chaikin law reference.
If you have been injured in an accident and have any questions about your rights or what you need to do to initiate a case, please contact Paris & Chaikin PLLC at 212 742 0476.