Roderick McCauley was driving east on Route 3 near the approach of the bridge crossing the Raquette River. He noticed a snow plow stopped at the edge, and then it moved forward. It again stopped and moved forward towards him. When he saw this, he drove his vehicle to the right. According to a report, his right wheels were on the shoulder. He drove in the same position at a speed of about 20-25 miles per hour until he passed the snow plow. He tried to turn the car back to the paved road. The front wheel went up, but as he accelerated to bring the rear wheel up, the back end shook and the car skidded across the road. It went through the space in between the guard posts, over the bank and into the river. There were five other people in the vehicle with Mr. McCauley. McCauley and two other passengers drowned, and the three others survived but suffered spinal injuries.
The representatives and the survivors filed a case against the State for the negligence in maintaining the roads, which included the shoulder. They said that the pavement was raised above the shoulder and that there were no guard rails. The Court of Claims in Queens and Westchester said that the elevation was not important because they did not have a reason to be on the shoulder as there was no emergency. They ruled that there is no liability from the State. They said that the car skidded because of the negligence of Mr. McCauley.
The Supreme Court Appellate Division received an appeal for this ruling and reviewed the facts. A Lawyer says that guard rails are set up to protect traffic from special hazards. Special hazards are high embankments, a deep and rapid river, or a sharp mountainside drop. It is their opinion that this is a negligence of the State in the maintenance. They said that it played a big part in causing more casualties. They also said that a careful driver who just trying to avoid an accident from happening should have been able to use the shoulder with no problem if properly maintained. It is not negligence for a driver if he used the shoulder to avoid an oncoming snow plow that may occupy part of the lane that he was using. According to the witnesses, they slowed down in the approach. The contest that he should have stopped on the shoulder or not have continued driving and causing the spinal injury on the shoulder still requires that the State maintain the shoulder of the road properly as it could have cause an accident. If Mr. McCauley was not a cautious driver, he would not have been using that shoulder in the first place and may have hit the snow plow instead.
It is sad when people die in car accidents that could have been avoided. New York Car Accident Lawyers know that especially in these cases compensation goes a long way as well as justice from the one responsible. There are also cases like this one that it is the negligence of the State in maintaining the roads, which caused the accident happen.
Stephen Bilkis & Associates’ Car Accident Lawyers have the experience in going for the compensation if you have the right for one. If you were involved in a car accident, and you are looking for compensation and justice. Call us at 1-800 NY – NY- LAW for a free consultation. We also have offices in Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan. If you are in Long Island, our offices are found in Suffolk County and Nassau County and Westchester County. We will give you all your legal options.