Last week, there was a fatal accident in a Brooklyn apartment complex partially owned by ex- MLB first baseman Mo Vaughn, when 12 year old Yakim McDaniels was killed while playing “chicken” on a roll-up gate. Apparently, McDaniels and two other teens were riding the gate as it proceeded upward. The two other boys jumped off, but McDaniel’s hand got caught in the gate, he could not dislodge it, and his head and upper body was forced into the mechanism, fracturing his neck and killing him.
The gate has a sensor by which it will not continue downward if pedestrians are underneath it, but nothing to prevent it from rising. McDaniels suffered severe head trauma and had to be cut out of the gate before he could receive medical treatment. He was taken to Brookdale Hospital where he was pronounced dead within hours of the May 6, 2012 accident.
Residents of the area interviewed shortly after the accident stated that they had complained to Omni New York on numerous occasions that kids were playing on the gates, to no avail. Supposedly, management had set up a basketball program on the premises but it was closed by management due to tenant complaints about noise. Omni office manager Arleigh Hardy noted that there is a playground on the property, but acknowledged that it was for younger children. She stated that it was a “tragic accident”, and claimed that the owner will pay for funeral expenses.
There is a possibility that the family will sue for the wrongful death of Yakim McDaniels, and pain and suffering (if it can be proven) before he died. When someone dies almost instantaneously, the only way to prove “conscious” pain and suffering is to obtain witness testimony that the fatally injured person either complained of pain, or even moaned in pain, before they died. Even a few seconds of conscious pain and suffering can be compensable.
However, this will be a difficult case to establish negligence in due to the issue of what is called “comparative negligence.” Comparative negligence is the responsibility of the person who is suing for injuries for causing their own injuries. (in this instance, a family member would have to be appointed to be Yakim’s legal guardian for a lawsuit to proceed). If however, management received numerous letters and complaints documenting the dangerousness of the activity and failed to prevent it from continuing, there is a possibility that there could be a finding of negligence against Omni New York as well.
If you or a loved one are seriously injured in a accident, is the victim of medical malpractice, or suffers injuries due to a defective product or medication, you need an attorney who has the requisite experience and knowledge to obtain full compensation for all of your injuries and damages, including pain and suffering, past and future, loss of earnings and earning potential, medical and hospital expenses, past and future, and loss of enjoyment of life. At the White Plains, New York Law Office of Mark A. Siesel we are dedicated to achieving those goals for our clients. Call the Westchester County Personal Injury Attorneys toll free at 888-761-7633 or contact us online for your free initial consultation today.