In 2009, a young man was walking in Central Park when a large tree branch snapped overhead and fell on him. The branch damaged his lungs, spinal cord and brain, leaving him paralyzed and cognitively disabled.
The victim’s family sued New York City and eventually settled the claim for $11.5 million. The limb that paralyzed the man was covered in a fungus and should have been taken down by maintenance crews.
The city is attempting to reduce tree branch accidents like this through its new ClaimStat program. The database mapping system would recognize areas of the city that are responsible for multiple injuries so that officials can examine whether there’s room for improvement.
In addition to tree branch accidents, ClaimStat will record reports of unfilled potholes, civil rights violations and medical malpractice claims involving NYC.
While officials are pleased with the opportunity for improvement that the new system brings, it remains to be seen whether it will effectively prevent municipal injury claims.
Source: New York Times, “Comptroller Aims To Curb Personal-Injury Claims Against New York City,” Benjamin Weiser, July 9, 2014