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Mentally disabled teen struck by medical van awarded $821,000

A 15-year-old mentally disabled boy was struck by a van while he was crossing a busy street. He sustained multiple fractures and brain damages, which aggravated his preexisting mental disability. As a result of his injuries, the boy’s ability to read dramatically declined from his pre-accident levels.

Edmund J. Scanlan filed suit against the van company and the driver, contending that the van company was liable because its driver’s negligence caused the accident. The company argued, however, that it was not liable under the doctrine of contributory negligence because the boy crossed the street in the middle of the block rather than at the crosswalk. In response, Scanlan argued that it was “usual and customary” to cross the street as the boy had done, rather than at the light, because the light was more than one block away. The jury apparently agreed with Scanlan because it returned a verdict in the boy’s favor for $821,000, with no reduction for the boy’s alleged contributory negligence.

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