On August 26, 2005, a passenger car and an 18 wheeler crashed at the intersection of Queens Boulevard and Van Dam Street in Queens, New York. The driver of the car advised that she was on Van Dam Street and was making a left turn onto Queens Boulevard, which has three westbound lanes. An 18 wheel commercial truck was in the lane to her right. The driver of the car stated that when traffic began to pull forward, the commercial truck began to merge in front of her vehicle. She said that she stopped and remained stopped in traffic while the truck struck the front passenger side of her vehicle and proceeded to pull of her bumper. The front seat passenger advised that the passenger car that she was in was at a complete stop in the left most lane when the last wheel of the commercial vehicle struck the right front bumper and crushed the passenger side of the vehicle inward trapping her inside the car.
The driver of the commercial tractor trailer stated that he was making a left turn onto Queens Boulevard from Van Dam Street in the right lane and was moving into the center lane, which was reserved for trucks only. The driver stated that before merging, he looked in his mirrors and did not see anything in the center lane where he was merging. The driver of the truck stated that he was about halfway into his turn when he felt the vehicle make contact with another vehicle. He later testified that he did not see the passenger car prior to the accident, but did see the passenger car hit his tire. The Westchester truck driver stated that when the contact occurred, both vehicles were moving and that the passenger car was moving faster than his truck. After the accident, the truck driver stated that the driver got out of the passenger side of the moving car and approached the front window of his truck. The driver of the passenger car has asked the court for a summary judgment to find that liability for the accident rests entirely on driver of the truck and does not rest at all on her. Both the driver of the commercial vehicle and one of the passengers in the passenger vehicle, ask that the summary motion be denied because there are more issues of fact that need to be decided.
There is clearly a conflict of testimony in that each driver states a completely different account of the accident than the other. The driver of the truck is maintaining that either the passenger vehicle was trying to pass him on the left hand side while he was making a left hand turn, or that the passenger vehicle was trying to change lanes in front of his vehicle. The driver of the truck further maintains that the center lane of the roadway is reserved for trucks and that because his vehicle makes wide turns, the passenger car would have had to move into on-coming traffic in order to pass his truck. The truck driver also states that the driver of the passenger car was not actually driving her vehicle at the time of the accident. He states that the alleged passenger of the vehicle was actually the driver of the vehicle. He stated that the woman who identified herself as the driver of the vehicle, but who did not have any identification on her at the time of the accident had a tattoo on her left bicep of a scroll. At her deposition, the alleged passenger of the car had a tattoo on her left bicep that was a scroll. Also, the driver of the passenger car had a tattoo on her left arm of a cross. There is also dispute about if the passenger door was operable after the accident.
The alleged passenger advised that following the accident, she was trapped in the vehicle because the door was jammed by damage caused in the accident and that it could not be opened. The driver of the commercial truck advised that the passenger had exited the passenger vehicle and approached his window and that the person he had seen exit the passenger side was the person who is now claiming to be the driver of the car.
Because these issues are in conflict, the court finds that it must deny the passenger car driver’s motion for summary judgment to find liability on the part of the commercial truck driver. The court also dismissed any motion for summary judgment on the part of the passenger car driver as it regards any liability to her as far as damages by her passenger are concerned.
This does not mean that the case is over. What happens next is that the issues that are in question must be decided in a court of law. Since the parties involved are unable to reach agreement about what happened the date of the accident, the court must call other witnesses and review the accident report and other documents that will more accurately reflect the conditions of the vehicles and the debris located in the roadway. It is cases like this that are tried on points of law and on physical evidence rather than on visual testimony as it is presented. Witnesses will be called possibly including the police officer who handled the accident scene. It will be important to determine if the damage to the passenger vehicle is consistent with it becoming jammed because of the damage that befell the vehicle in the course of the accident. It will also be important to determine where the debris from the accident was located, which should be recorded on the accident report. If there were any skid marks on the roadway, they will also be important in the judgment of where the vehicles were located on the roadway at the time of the accident. In cases such as this, it is even more important to have proper legal representation to maneuver the court system. It is clear in this case that proper trial management is the only way to solve the disputes between these parties.
Issues of law are constantly changing. A person who is not specifically trained in the law cannot begin to know what all of their rights are without the assistance of a professional. Here at Steven Bilkis and Associates, we provide Truck Accident Attorneys, Injury Lawyers, Big Rig Jackknife Injury Attorneys, and 18 Wheeler Crash Injury lawyers. Commercial Truck Accident Lawyers will stand by you and ensure that your rights are protected. Wrongful Death Attorneys can argue your side and make sure that you and your loved ones are considered. We make sure that you are rightfully awarded compensation for your suffering.
Stephen Bilkis & Associates with its Personal Injury Lawyers has convenient offices throughout the New York Metropolitan area including other areas of New York. Our Commercial Truck Accident Attorneys can provide you with advice to guide you through difficult situations. Without a Personal Injury Lawyer you could lose precious compensation to help with your medical bills and the trauma to you and your loved ones following such a frightening experience. This is true even if the Attorney for the other side has not adequately made their case. Let us help you to recover from the devastation that has befallen your family. If you are ever the victim of a truck accident, we are here to help.