Schechter v. Klanfer

321 N.Y.S.2d 99, 28 N.Y.2d 228, 269 N.E.2d 812 (1971)


Schechter (P) and his companion, Alice Stone, were involved in a motorboat collision. Both were then 14 years old. On a clear and moonlit night, they had left a party at a lakeshore home and, with P operating his father's boat, had begun motoring across the lake. P was taking a straight course at about four miles an hour. They had not gone far, when Alice looked to her right and saw a motorboat some 50 feet distant heading towards them, its bow out of water. The boot, operated by Klanfer (D), struck P's boat near the driver's seat. Alice estimated that D boat was traveling at 30 miles an hour. The nighttime speed limit on the lake was 10 miles an hour. As a result of the collision, P had no memory of the events. He had sustained a fractured skull, fractured arm, fractured jaw, and other physical injuries. He had been comatose for several days. P had amnesia, due to brain damage. D got the verdict. The court had refused to allow a lesser degree of proof because of P’s amnesia. P appealed.