The law firm of Michael J. Redenburg, Esq. P.C. was recently successful in obtaining a verdict for a child who was involved in a Hit and Run Accident in New York City. Although vehicle accident cases, including hit and run cases, are usually held as a “unified trial” in Manhattan Court, we filed a motion in limine to have a bifurcated trial and the judge allowed only the issue of liability to be heard by the jury. In a unified trial, both liability and damages are presented to the jury at the same time, requiring the Plaintiff in such a case to present a doctor as a witness and testify concerning the injuries sustained and the causal connection of that injury to the accident.
Manhattan Hit-and-Run Accidents
In this case, the defendant was Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation, commonly referred to as MVAIC, because the car that struck the child left the scene and could not be identified. MVAIC is a not-for-profit that stands in the shoes of the motorist that fled the scene of the accident, where the pedestrian struck did not have an auto insurance policy of his own and no member of his or her household held an auto insurance policy. MVAIC provides a very limited amount of indemnification. In this case, MVAIC had held a “no-pay” position and refused to discuss settling the case at all, primarily because the child had testified at his deposition that he had run between two parked cars when he was struck by the automobile that fled the scene of the accident. Accordingly, MVAIC maintained that the child essentially darted out into traffic and the vehicle that struck him could not be held liable.
At trial, the Plaintiff who was thirteen years old at the time of the accident testified that the two parked cars that he ran between were parked cars on either side of a one-way street and he was just outside of the crosswalk when he was hit. The defense attorney for MVAIC argued to the jury that this testimony was absolutely incredible and that when the child testified at deposition that he ran between two parked cars, he surely meant that it was two parked cars on the same side of the street. The jury in the case d eliberated for a little more than two hours and ultimately returned a verdict finding the child to be 35% at fault for the occurrence of the accident and the driver of the car that struck him to be 65% at fault. Immediately thereafter, I moved for a directed verdict on the issue of damages and the Court granted my motion as the child had suffered a serious injury as a result of the accident.