“Serious Injury” Threshold of No-Fault Law Held Not to Apply to Passenger Negligently Left Overnight Seat-Belted in School Bus
In Rivera v. Outstanding Transp., Inc., a handicapped person was, instead of being transported by bus to his home was, left in the bus as it was taken to a depot in Brooklyn where he remained overnight, unattended and unsupervised, in frigid temperatures. The driver subsequently pled guilty to Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person. Motions for summary judgment dismissing the complaint on the ground that the plaintiff did not sustain a “serious injury” as defined in the Motor Vehicle No-Fault Insurance Law were denied by Justice David I. Schmidt of Supreme Court, Kings County. The court reasoned that the bus was not the instrumentality that produced the injuries but instead the injuries were the result of the defendants' abandonment of the handicapped person and his exposure to cold temperatures for an extensive period. These injuries would have occurred if the passenger was left outside the vehicle.