Sometimes, the key to a successful personal injury case is not the documents you discover or the expert witnesses you deploy, but the questions you ask of the person you are suing for damages. In some cases, the key to success (or, at least, the key to avoiding an unfavorable summary judgment) can be the admissions made by your opponent herself. To get that information, though, you need to know how to question a witness. This is just one of the many ways that having an experienced New York pedestrian accident attorney on your side can help you and your case.
An example of this type of scenario was played out in the case of Jennie, a pedestrian who was hit and injured. Jennie had just finished dinner at a restaurant in a small upstate town. Returning to her vehicle meant crossing Route 9N, since the restaurant was on the other side of the road from the parking lot. As Jennie crossed the road, a driver hit her, causing significant injuries.
The evidence in the resulting legal case showed that the driver was traveling at about 30 mph, which was the speed limit for that stretch of Route 9N. The proof also indicated that the driver had her headlights on (because it was after dark). All of this evidence might seem to point in favor of the driver with regard to judging whether or not the driver was negligent in crashing into the pedestrian.
That is why it is important to question your opponent carefully and completely. In Jennie’s case, the driver admitted that she saw Jennie and two other pedestrians when she was still a distance of approximately 300 feet away. Despite seeing the pedestrians that far in advance, the driver testified that she never honked her horn and never slowed down from the speed at which she was traveling when she first spotted the pedestrians in front of the restaurant.
This evidence mattered a great deal because the law requires drivers to “maintain a proper lookout under the driving circumstances presented and to maintain a reasonably safe rate of speed.” The law also obliges drivers “to keep a reasonably careful look out for pedestrians, to see what was there to be seen, to sound the horn when a reasonably prudent person would have done so to warn a pedestrian of danger and to operate the car with reasonable care to avoid hitting any pedestrian on the roadway.”
The evidence Jennie presented indicated that this driver, despite seeing the pedestrians, did very little to avoid the collision other than allegedly swerving at the last moment. This evidence very clearly showed that the driver did not take reasonable measures to avoid hitting Jennie, so the driver could not be entitled to a verdict that absolved her of all liability but must be held at least partially to blame for Jennie’s injuries.
Jennie’s case shows how important each part of a personal injury case is, from pretrial and discovery all the way to the trial itself. The experienced Queens pedestrian accident attorneys at Newman, Anzalone & Newman have been helping injured drivers, passengers, and pedestrians for many years. To put our experience to work for you, schedule a free consultation with one of our qualified attorneys. Contact us toll-free at 877-754-3099 or through our website.
More Blog Posts:
Brooklyn Pedestrian Wins Judgment in Her Favor After a Driver Crashed Into Her, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, March 6, 2018
Accumulating the Evidence You Need to Win Your New York Pedestrian Injury Case, New York Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, Oct. 12, 2017
Photo Credit: Brad Shorr, [CC0 License], via Wikimedia Commons