Q: What should I do if I can’t obtain an accident report from my pedestrian accident?
In New York, automobile accidents are common. In most cases, the parties involved stay at the scene, exchange information, and await the arrival of the authorities. Sometimes however, one party – – usually the one at fault – – may flee the scene leaving dead victims or people with personal injuries behind. When you’ve been injured by the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of someone else, you may commence a personal injury action to recover the damages you sustained as a result of the accident. While each case is different, damages generally include current and future lost income, medical expenses related to the accident, anticipated future rehabilitation costs or medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, and more. But it isn’t enough to suffer serious injuries. You must be able to prove that the other person caused those injuries. In the case of a hit-and-run accident, the victim begins at a point of disadvantage. First, the victim may be hospitalized for those serious injuries. She may or may not have –or be able to relay to the police– any helpful information about the driver that hit her. Were there witnesses to the accident? Was there a police report? Was there an investigation? In any automobile accident, but particularly a hit-and-run situation, time is the enemy of the victim. If an investigation is not handled promptly and appropriately, important evidence to help prove the victims case might be lost forever. These are just some of the reasons why it’s important for anyone who is seriously injured in an accident to contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Doing so will enable you to have an advocate on your side who will fight for your rights and attempt to maximize your recovery. Your attorney will be able to access important reports, including police reports, and will reconstruct the accident and interview any necessary parties before they forget important details or disappear. One case that illustrates the importance of hiring a personal injury attorney immediately after an accident is the case of a Fordham University student who was struck by a minivan in mid-December while crossing the street. She was “sent skidding dozens of feet along the road” as her sister and friends looked on and she suffered extensive injuries, including a fractured pelvis in seven places. Since the victim was in ICU, her stepfather reportedly reached out later that day to the local police to get a copy of the police report from the accident, where witnesses reportedly took photos of the license plate of the hit-and-run driver. The step-dad alleges that the police initially denied a record of any accident and then refused to give any details claiming only the victim herself could get information. Frustrated with an apparent run around, the man says he sought and viewed video surveillance tapes from nearby businesses and had a judge friend intervene to get some answers. Thereafter, a police report did materialize, but it was reportedly written “as if the driver remained on the scene” and it curiously contained summaries from the victim–who the step-dad and sister claim never spoke to the police. The mystery continued as the stepfather learned that the driver of the minivan reportedly called “called 911, said he was worried for his safety, drove off and then returned to the accident”. He was not charged with leaving the scene. The step-dad’s time-consuming investigation continues. When a loved one is seriously injured, you should be able to focus your attention on their recovery rather than on attempting to conduct your own investigation and navigating potential or actual road blocks to the truth. A personal injury attorney can take that burden from your shoulders so you can focus on your loved one. If you or a loved one has been injured in any kind of accident that was not your fault, the personal injury attorneys at Jaroslawicz & Jaros can help. Call us for a free consultation at 212-227-2780. From our Manhattan offices, we’ve been representing clients throughout New York and nationwide for over 40 years