“My child was struck by a car while walking home from school. Shouldn’t the City also be responsible for the accident as well as the driver of the car that struck my child for failing to provide crossing guards so children can get home safely on busy New York Streets?”
As with most questions presented, the answer really lies with the details of the accident if the City is negligent for failing to provide crossing guards. The lead case with crossing guard accidents is probably Florence v Goldberg, 44 NY2d 189 (1978). This was a 1978 case in which a jury found the City responsible for failing to replace a civilian crossing guard assigned to a busy Brooklyn intersection who called in sick. The 6 year old plaintiff was struck walking home. The key fact in the case was the intersection was protected by a crossing guard for the first two weeks of school. The plaintiff’s mother accompanied the plaintiff for the first two weeks of school. She then accepted a job after two weeks and relied on the crossing guard to help her child get home safely.
The Court found that the crossing guard created a special duty of the police to insure the child would get home safely. But the Court repeated the rule that there is no general duty to insure citizens are never the victims of accidents or crimes. Municipalities have limited resources so they are not responsible for every act violating its citizens. A mugging victim cannot claim the City should have had more of a police presence to prevent a crime from occurring. Similary, if an adult was struck in that busy Brooklyn intersection, there would be no claim because there was no special relationship between the vicitim and the police force. Similarly, if the young victim in the Florence case was injured by a bandit who beat the child up or by a friend who pushed him down, there would be no claim. The civilian crossing guard was only there to insure safety against cars in the intersection, not against all tragedies that can occurr on a City street.
The question, as it is written, never states if the intersection in question was normally covered by crossing guards or not. If the intersection in question never had a crossing guard to begin with, then the City would not be responsible because no special duty existed bewteen the City and your child.