A mother from New York who was seriously injured last year while shielding her three sons from a falling tree is filing a $200 million lawsuit after she was nearly left paralyzed.
Anne Monoky was walking with her two boys, then ages 4 and 2, while carrying her newborn son when a 75-foot 3,000-pound elm tree came crashing down on her in New York City’s Central Park. The freak accident on August 15 left Monoky’s 2-year-old son—who was in a stroller—with a skull fracture, while her two other children didn’t suffer major injuries.
But the mother of three suffered four fractures in her neck, two of which have not healed six months after the accident. During an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, the 39-year-old said doctors have told her the two other fractures may never heal, which puts her at risk of becoming a quadriplegic.
“It was, like, a beautiful sunny day. I went to the park, and that’s all I remember,” Monoky told GMA. “The next thing I know I was in the ICU.”
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Now, Monoky and her husband, Curt Goldman, are filing a $200 million lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court against the city of New York, the Central Park Conservancy and other companies responsible for looking after the Central Park’s trees.
“This tree had been neglected for years and had clear and obvious signs that it was decayed and could collapse at any moment,” the suit says, according to the New York Daily News.
Monoky—a former marathon runner—told GMA that she has to be exceedingly watchful of her actions for now on. If she tumbles over while performing an everyday task, it could mean life or death.
“I can’t fall and I can’t do, you know, anything outside, I have to be really careful,” she said, before repeating the warning a doctor gave her: “You will stop breathing if something jarring happens to you.”
While reflecting on the day that changed her life last August, Monoky told GMA that she was focused on protecting her children when she realized they were in danger. Her wellbeing in those moments, she said, took a backseat to the health of her children. She still feels the same way today.
“I actually don’t think of myself in it all,” she said. “I’m more worried about my kids and what they’ve been through.”
She added: “You know, they went in the ambulance by themselves… It’s scary. They were little. I just am worried about them.”
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For Monoky and her husband, the primary objective of their lawsuit is to make sure families around the country can visit parks without fear of what she experienced.
“We have to tell our story because we want to make sure that, you know, these families are protected,” she said. “No one should have to go through what we went through.”