A multiple car accident caused Joel R. Heiney, James Pattillo and Carl Dorfman to cross. The accident happened August 8 on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. A Lawyer said that from records what took place started with Mr. Pattillo. Mr. Pattillo was moving east on the left-hand lane of the Parkway. Mr. Dorfman and Mr. Heiney were travelling westbound, separately. It is still uncertain why, but Mr. Pattillo’s car suddenly swerved to the left and crossed the median line separating the eastbound and westbound lanes. Once on the westbound lane still going east he first hit a taxicab, next was Mr. Heiney’s vehicle. After Mr. Pattillo’s car hit Mr. Heiney’s, Mr. Heiney’s car was involved with Mr. Dorfman’s vehicle in a second collision.
Mr. Heiney and his wife started the proceedings for an instant action against Mr. Pattillo and Mr. Dorfman, immediately after the accident. In their petition, they said that Mr. Pattillo was negligent as he caused his vehicle to cross into oncoming lanes of traffic. For Mr. Dorfman, their case was that he did not maintain a safe distance from their vehicle that would have allowed him to avoid hitting them. The defendants, Mr. Pattillo and Mr. Dorfman, introduced claims against each other.
The courts in The Bronx and mainly in Brooklyn had a hearing in the issue of liability only. The witnesses were Mr. Heiney and his wife, Mr. Pattillo, Mr. Dorfman, a witness who was not involved and a police officer who arrived at the scene a few minutes after it happened. In Mr. Heiney’s testimony, he said that he was moving towards the center of the westbound lane when he noticed a commotion to his left. He saw Mr. Pattillo’s vehicle swiping the rear of a taxi. This was in the left hand lane and was about a car and a half ahead of him. In a few seconds, Mr. Pattillo’s car hit the left side of his vehicle. He was still moving in the center lane when Mr. Dorfman’s vehicle hit his car from behind, and that is where he lost control of his vehicle. The car stopped at the right side of the road. According to a source, the witness who was not involved named Phillip Stein supported Mr. Heiney’s testimony. He was travelling on the eastbound lane where he noticed Mr. Pattillo’s vehicle weaving from side to side in the left-hand side of the eastbound lane and suddenly crossed to the westbound lane. He hit the taxicab, Mr. Heiney’s car, and then Mr. Heiney’s car was hit by Mr. Dorfman’s. Mr. Stein clearly said that when Mr. Pattillo’s vehicle veered to outside the eastbound lane, there were no other vehicles, and it had not been in contact with another vehicle.
Mr. Pattillo’s testimony, on the other hand, was that he was trying to get to the right-hand lane because he wanted to exit at Flatbush Avenue. He said that there was another vehicle in the center lane, so he increased his speed a little to be able to pass it. While passing the other car, allegedly, the driver of the other vehicle sounded his horn, so he leaned to check if he knew the driver. A source mentioned that Mr. Pattillo said this was when the other vehicle that was in the middle lane moved to the left and hit his car. He said this is what caused him to lose control of his vehicle. He said that he remembers that he hit another car, but he does not remember anything after. He also refutes the statement that he was already swerving before the accident.
Mr. Dorfman’s testimony was the shortest, as he said that he only remembers passing the Flatbush exit, and that he was in the right hand of the westbound lane. He also just remembers things from after the accident when his vehicle was already stopped at the right shoulder of the westbound road.
A new trial was granted for this case because of certain reasons, which included that introduction of a statement made by Mr. Pattillo. Although it was entered by Mr. Dorfman, it never should have been admitted. It was the motor vehicle accident report that was written by Mr. Pattillo more than three months after the accident. It said, “Was sideswiped, lost control of the car. Was knocked unconscious. Don’t know anything about other vehicles that was (SiC) in accident.” It would have been barred because it was a self-serving report if Mr. Pattillo entered it into evidence, but the court says it should have been barred regardless as this was introduced after Mr. Pattillo has already testified.
From information gotten by a reporter, there was also an instance in the cross-examination of Mr. Stein that was cited by the Appellate Court as a reason to set another trial. This was on redirect, Mr. Heiney’s counsel returned to the question why Mr. Stein did not try to pass the allegedly swerving Mr. Pattillo. The transcript show:
“Q. Why didn’t why didn’t you pass this car?
“A. Well, because I’m programmed where “Q. Not “MR. SHAPIRO: * I object he’s programmed his program, Judge.
“MR. WOOSTER: ** I object “Q. Were you “THE COURT: Did you bring the bagels home safe that night? All right, I’ll let him he was programmed for bringing the bagels home. His JAP was waiting for him. You know what a JAP is, don’t you?
“THE WITNESS: Of course. Someone who lives in Japan.
“THE COURT: All right. Sundown, quick, let’s get down to, here” (emphasis supplied).
The Appellate Court does not even need to explain that the remark by the court was inappropriate. These are not reasons to reverse the decision. Mr. Stein was the only disinterested party that testified. His testimony directly contradicts the statement of one of the defendants. The comment of the court with the reinforcement of Mr. Pattillo’s testimony does not necessarily mean the Mr. Stein’s credibility was undermined in the case, but it requires a new trial because to finish the case Mr. Stein’s statement is crucial. The court stated as well that with regard to the entering of parts of the two police accident reports which had diagrams claiming to represent the position of the parties’ vehicles at the conclusion of the accident was not incorrect as this was based on what he saw on the scene and not from testimonies. It is also noted that the testimonies in the trial have supported the court’s decision that Mr. Dorfman only reacted to the emergency.
Like with any other case there are complications that may arise from a simple petition because of the misdeeds of some of the parties. These unforeseen situations are not new to Lawyers. Even if the issue that arises is not an issue about auto accidents, they are able to deal with it to make sure your interest is protected.
The Car Crash Lawyers of Stephen Bilkis & Associates are these lawyers. They are ready for any snag that may happen in the case, and they can easily adapt their strategy to match what is happening. If you have been involved in a car accident with multiple vehicles or otherwise call us at 1-800 NY – NY- LAW for a consultation. There may be some things that can still be done, and you get compensated. We also have offices around New York, and you can walk in and get your questions answered.