How to Navigate Infant Cases in New York - The Basics

Posted by Edward LemmoAug 06, 20210 Comments

One of the types of cases my firm handles is infant cases who are injured on premises , such as amusement parks,  school playgrounds, water parks, playgrounds , escalators, defective premises in buildings and more. An infant  under 7 is considered 'non sui juris'  a word that  means " an individual who lacks the legal capacity to act on her or his behalf , such as an infant .."  In an infant case there are sometimes problems of proof due to lack of witnesses or the infant's inability to describe what happened or caused the accident. One type of infant case is when they are running or playing in the street or running after a ball and struck by a vehicle. Depending on the facts and circumstances the driver of the vehicle who struck the infant  must still have used reasonable care in the operation of the vehicle to avoid striking the infant. If the accident happened in a school zone for example there are usually speed bumps or lower speed limits to alert the driver that children are near. Another type of case my firm handles deals with infants being injured at school . These cases are more difficult if the infant is  injured by another student doing a spontaneous act , such as throwing an object and injuring another student. The plaintiff's lawyer must show that it was forseeable that the infant may be injured. Another type of  infant case is a premises case where the infant fell into a hole in the  sidewalk or slipped on a dangerous condition .In these cases the issue of notice arises.  Lemmo Law also has handled  lack of supervision cases against  The Board of Education of the City of New York ,  where the infant is injured on a school playground. In many of these cases where an infant / child falls from the monkey bars, there is insufficient matting under them which is a cause of the injury.  In these types of cases one must inquire whether there were a sufficient number of teachers or aids to supervise the students. Another common issue  where an infant is injured at a City or School  Park is whether the  Department of Parks of the City of New York's employees  failed at that time  to conduct  testing or negligently inspected and failed to conduct and perform and adequately inspect the safety surface under the area of the  jungle gym  to determine if it was safe  or whether it conformed with the standards of the ASTM or needed to be replaced. Owners and schools where playgrounds exist, should  conduct and perform safety testing of the protective surfacing/matting under the playground equipment where  children and infants are likely to fall to make sure it is not worn and to make sure they conform with accepted standards of playground safety. School safety experts will tell you that the school must  perform ASTM F1292 Free Fall Method Testing of the matting/protective surfacing and or GMAX testing to determine the safety and of the outdoor protective surfacing surface/ matting  in the zone under the jungle gym , to protect infants / young students in school that fall . 

Remember any offer of settlement on an infants case must have Court approval in New York by a Supreme Court Judge . This is called an infants compromise hearing and order approving the settlement. 

If you have an infant that has been involved in an accident , call us at Lemmo Law. Edward Lemmo or one of my team members is here to assist you and see  if you have a viable case.