A man and his girlfriend rented a car from a car company and brought their kids to school. The school’s driveway allowed cars to go only one way. When they neared the entrance and the children had gotten off, their rental car was sandwiched between two school buses that were also letting children off. When the bus in front of their rental car went forward, the couple moved their car but hit the school security guard who was standing near the front of the rental car driven by the couple.
The security guard was hit in his right knee for which reason he fell on the hood of the couple’s rental car. The defendants claim that they never struck the security guard. He stood in front of their rental car and struck the hood of the car with his palm to stop them from moving.
The security guard filed a suit in damages against the couple and against the rental car company and their insurers. He claims to have sustained serious spinal injury especially of the lower back, the hip and his right knee joint.
The couple and the rental car company moved for summary judgment asserting that the security guard did not sustain a serious injury.
To support their motion for summary judgment, they offered the medical records of the security guard, specifically, the report of the orthopaedist who examined the security guard before the trial commenced. The orthopaedist conducted range of motion tests on his cervical and lumbar spine, his right hip and right knee and found that his bones were stable and the nerves were intact. In his opinion, he cannot confirm any ongoing or present impairment which may be traced to the accident which occurred in 2010.
They also submitted a transcript of the deposition testimony of the security guard that after the accident which occurred in March 12, 2003, he was taken to the emergency room for x-rays. He was unable to work for three days after that. The Manhattan defendants assert that the accident occurred on a Friday and so the security guard was unable to work for only one day, the following Monday. The security guard himself stated that he returned to his usual duties as school security guard.
The car rental company’s motion for summary judgment alleges that under the Graves Amendment, as the owner of the rental car, it cannot be made liable in damages for the injury sustained by the security guard when it did not have any control over the rental car at the time of the accident. As owner, it cannot be made liable to the negligent acts of the couple who rented the car from it.
The only question before the Court is whether or not the motion for summary judgment should be granted.
The Court held that the defendant couple and car rental company have both proved that they are entitled to a summary judgment. However, the Court also held that this only serves to shift the burden to the security guard to prove that there are material issues of fact that have yet to be tried before a jury.
The security guard presented medical narrative reports of several physicians who examined him. They all gave an opinion that the hip, knee and spinal injury sustained by the security guard were all caused by the accident. They also gave the opinion that the injury sustained was permanent and progressive. However, the Court found that these medical narrative reports by the physicians who examined the security guard were not sworn to by them. They were not in sufficient form to be admissible. However, the plaintiff succeeded in submitting the same medical narrative reports of the doctors after they have been subscribed and sworn to by the physicians who prepared them.
The Long Island Court held that the motion for summary judgment filed by the rental car company is granted but the security guard has raised issues of material fact that need to be tried before a jury. Their motion for summary judgment is denied.
When filing evidence in a personal injury case, a New York City Spinal Injury Lawyer can help you by making sure that the opinions of the medical experts are in the form of a sworn affidavit. A New York Spinal Injury lawyer can also assist you in procuring medical records that prove the extent of the injury and the cause of the injury. At Stephen Bilkis and Associates, their NYC Spinal Injury lawyers are ready and willing to assist and represent you. Call Stephen Bilkis and Associates or visit any of their offices in the New York area. Their NY Spinal Injury attorneys are standing by to assist you