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Just Another Accident Case

Accident by Towel Dispenser in Bathroom

On Behalf of | Jun 18, 2020 | Firm News, Negligence |

Personal injury or accident cases can arise anywhere. Even in a bathroom. In this case, a person was hit in the head by a towel dispenser.  To prove the defendant was negligent, the Plaintiff used the legal doctrine of “res ipsa loquitor.” This is a latin term for the “thing speaks for itself.” That means that such accident or personal injuries do not arise, unless there as negligence.  The court held that the judge should have charged the jury with the law of “res ipsa loquitor.”  The court stated:

Based upon that proof, we find that the trial court improvidently exercised its discretion in declining to charge the jury on res ipsa loquitur. A res ipsa charge “merely permits the jury to infer negligence from the circumstances of the occurrence” (Kambat v St. Francis Hosp., 89 NY2d 489, 495 [1997]). The doctrine does not require “sole physical access to the instrumentality causing the injury” (Banca Di Roma v Mutual of Am. Life Ins. Co., Inc., 17 AD3d 119, 121 [1st Dept 2005]; see Sangiovanni v Koloski, 31 AD3d 422, 423 [2d Dept 2006]; Johnson v Farr, 268 AD2d 560 [2d Dept 2000], lv denied 95 NY2d 754 [2000]). The trial court should also have charged that a violation of Administrative Code of the City of New York § 28-301.1, which requires property owners to maintain their buildings in a safe condition, constitutes “some evidence of negligence” (see McGowan v Kennedy & Co., 158 AD2d 420, 421 [1st Dept 1990]). To the extent that the TD/TR unit allegedly fell out of the wall eight months after installation by defendant John Spaccarelli, the court erred by failing to allow plaintiff to fully question the credentials of Mr. Spaccarelli and his qualifications as an expert (McLamb v Metropolitan Suburban Bus Auth., 139 AD2d 572 [2d Dept 1988], citing Felt v Olson, 51 NY2d 977 [1980]).

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