Getting a Recovery for Injuries at the Airport; Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor Fractures Ankle at New York Airport


Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, fractured her ankle in a fall at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.  She was going to Washington, DC, in connection with her confirmation.

We wish her a speedy recovery.  Her accident has not deterred her from making her rounds at the Senate.

One thing that the judge’s accident shows is that anyone, including the celebrated and powerful, can be a victim of an accident which can happen suddenly and at the most inconvenient time..  If you have been involved in an airport accident, please feel free to call me at 800-851-1434 or write to letters@seitelman.com for a free consultation.

If the judge fell as a result of the negligence of the airport, she should keep the following in mind:

  • The New York City airports (LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy [JFK] , and Newark) are owned and operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.  The Port Authority owns the buildings and grounds.  It leases terminals and runways to carriers, such as US Air where the judge fell.
  • The Port Authority is a bi-state governmental authority of both New York and New Jersey.  It was created by compact.
  • There are strict time limits for filing a suit against the Port Authority.  For example, a notice of claim must be filed at least 60 days before the filing of suit.  The statute of limitations for filing suit is 1 year.  Therefore, the deadline for filing the notice of claim is 10 months.
  • A lawsuit against the Port Authority can be filed in either state or federal courts.
  • The injured person is entitled to a trial by jury.

Here are some examples of our cases where the Port Authority was at fault:

  • The client tripped on a mis-levelled concrete sidewalk connecting two terminals;
  • The client, a stewardess, tripped on a broken concrete entrance to the terminal;
  • The client, a pedestrian, was struck by a Port Authority police vehicle; and
  • The client, a maintenance employee of an airline, fell due to a hole in the tarmac.

In many cases another party may be at fault.  The private airlines and freight carriers lease and operate their various terminals and facilities.  Often, there may be a maintenance company involved.

For example,

  • The client was in a wheelchair being wheeled to the gate.  The employee of the airline was negligent and caused the wheelchair to overturn on a sharp turn so that the client was thrown to the ground.  In this case, the airline would be at fault.  The Port Authority had no involvment in the accident.
  • The client slipped and fell due to a freshly mopped floor which was not set-off with warning cones.  The cleaning company would be at fault.
  •  The client fell due to a ripped carpet in the waiting area outside the gate.  The airline would be at fault in that the Port Authority neither installed nor maintained the carpet.

If you are injured at an airport outside of New York, we would have to work with an attorney in the locality.   

As with any case, early retention of an attorney and investigation at the scene is necessary.

If you have been injured in an accident in an airport, please feel free to call us at 800-581-1434 or write to letters@seitelman.com.

Mark E. Seitelman, 6/9/09, www.seitelman.com.

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2 Responses to Getting a Recovery for Injuries at the Airport; Supreme Court Nominee Sonia Sotomayor Fractures Ankle at New York Airport

  1. […] Last week the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor, fractured her ankle while catching a flight to Washington, DC.  See our story on Judge Sotomayor here. […]

  2. unibet says:

    My friend and I were arguing about an issue similar to this.

    Now I know that I was right, LOL! Thanks for the information and for proving me right!

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