Syndicated columnist Robert Novak was involved in a hit-and-run motor vehicle accident yesterday when his black Chevrolet Corvette struck a pedestrian who was crossing a street while crossing with a Walk signal within a crosswalk. Novak did not stop at the scene of accident but continued driving. He claims that he did not realize what happened until he had traveled one block and a bicyclist stopped him to tell him he had struck someone.
Luckily for the injured pedestrian, a bicyclist witnessed the hit-and-run and reportedly said that the pedestrian was splayed across Novaks windshield. The witness described how the “black Corvette convertible with top closed plowed into the guy. The guy is sort of splayed onto the windshield. … the guy rolled off the hood and landed on the street.” The witness also described how the convertible continued to drive away from the scene. The witness was finally able to put his bike in front of the car to block it and called 911.
How can it be? A motorist doesn’t notice a pedestrian splayed across his windshield? Of course he does. But without the witness, the poor pedestrian is left helpless in the roadway while the offending driver continues on his merry way. Very often when someone is involved in an accident, people come over to the scene.
Our clients are appreciative of the help that these witnesses offer. However, clients do not always get the names of witnesses. Sometimes they mistakenly rely upon the police to include the witness name in the police report. Sometimes, the person does not realize how badly they have been injured until later. Sometimes, especially if the accident involves a person falling, the person is too embarrassed to get the names of witnesses and would prefer to pretend that the accident didn’t occur and go on about their business. While it can be difficult to think of it when an accident has just occurred, that may be the only time that a witness name can be obtained. It is not an opportunity to be squandered.
In addition, in the age of cell phones bearing cameras, photographs should be taken immediately. As the Novak hit-and-run accident illustrates, people don’t always own up to their mistakes, even if the initially appear to be doing so. Having a witness keeps the wrongdoer accountable and the injured person able to receive the compensation they deserve. Novak says he was issued a $50.00 citation for failing to yield the right-of-way.
The lawyers at Levine & Slavit have decades of experience handling personal injury claims including those involving motor vehicle accidents. For 50 years spanning 3 generations, we have obtained results for satisfied clients. We have offices in Manhattan and Long Island, handling cases in New York City, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and surrounding areas.