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Overcoming Lost Records To Win Your New York Accident Case in Spite of Missing Evidence

pedestrian crosswalkLife is full of frustrating and unexpected difficulties and challenges. The same can be true about accident litigation. Sometimes things go wrong that are outside your control. The key is how you respond. In the case of a pedestrian hit by a bus driver, she was able to overcome a state agency’s inability to provide her with a certified document she needed for her case. The plaintiff succeeded because she was able to use an alternative method of providing the court with the evidence she needed to win her case on the issue of liability.

The accident at the foundation of this dispute involved a pedestrian struck by a bus. The pedestrian was crossing Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn when the bus hit her. According to the pedestrian, she was inside the crosswalk and crossing with the light (in other words, she had the right of way) when the collision took place. Allegedly, the accident took place when the bus driver made an abrupt left turn, and, despite the pedestrian’s efforts, she could not escape the path of the vehicle.

The pedestrian sued for her injuries. In a situation like this, there are several pieces of evidence you’ll likely want to get your hands on and submit to the court as part of your case. One of these is a certified copy of the police report of your accident. This plaintiff, however, had a problem. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles was unable to find a police report for her accident. That, of course, meant that they could not provide a certified copy to the woman, and she could not submit a certified copy to the court.

The pedestrian did, however, submit an uncertified copy to the court (as well as a letter from the DMV stating that it could not find the report and could not issue a certified copy). That uncertified report stated that the responding officer issued a summons to the bus driver for failing to yield the right of way and hitting the pedestrian. The report also included a statement from the driver, in which he stated that he was attempting to turn onto Atlantic Avenue and hit the pedestrian.

Even though the police report was not certified, the pedestrian’s proof was sufficient to entitle her to a summary judgment in her favor on the issue of liability. Winning summary judgment is often very important because it saves you from the time, stress, and potentially unpredictable events that can go with enduring a full trial on the merits of your case.

The key was the pedestrian’s possession and submission of the uncertified report. Even though that report was not a certified document, it contained the driver’s statement that he turned left and then hit the pedestrian. This, the trial court concluded, was what the law calls a “statement against interest.” (That means that the speaker – the driver in this case – made a statement that was potentially harmful or disadvantageous to his legal interest.) What that statement against interest meant for this pedestrian was that the report was still admissible as evidence, even though it was uncertified, and that document plus the rest of the woman’s proof was enough to win her case on the issue of liability.

In an injury case, like life, success involves many things. Sometimes, one of those things is dealing effectively with unexpected or unforeseeable problems. That is one of the areas in which representation from experienced counsel can be invaluable. The knowledgeable Queens pedestrian accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have been helping injured people for many years and dealing with a wide array of cases and circumstances in helping our clients pursue the damages they need. To schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, contact us toll-free at 718-896-2700 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

New York City Pedestrian With Right of Way Was Entitled to Summary Judgment on Liability, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, April 12, 2017

Uncertainty of Bicycle Deliveryperson’s Identity Didn’t Stop Pedestrian from Pursuing Case Against New York City Restaurant, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Dec. 7, 2016

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