Robin Stissi was seriously hurt when she hit a guardrail on an exit ramp leading from Nichols road to the Long Island Expressway. There was no identification of another vehicle on the police report and the police officer indicated the accident was Robin’s fault.
We filed an uninsured claim for a hit-and-run accident with Robin’s insurance company which denied the claim saying she was not hit by a car. (You should never say you were “cut off” because contact with another vehicle is required in hit and run accidents)
We demanded an arbitration and they tried to obtain a court order permanently stopping us from proceeding to arbitration. However, we won the right to have a hearing in Suffolk County Supreme Court to determine whether a car hit Robin.
The insurance company had three witnesses testify in court at the hearing, the police officer and two drivers. But we showed that the police officer was not believable and that the two drivers did not see the accident occur.
When I spoke with the police officer prior to his testimony, he was very nice to me but had an obvious problem with our client and was very emotional about it. I still don’t understand exactly why he was so emotional but it appeared to me that he had a problem with motorcyclists and we used that to our advantage when cross-examining him.
The police officer testified at the hearing that Robin told him she lost control of her motorcycle on the sand but the supposed statement was not on the police report. In fact, the police report indicated for Robin “NO STATEMENT DUE TO INJURIES”. We also got the police officer to admit that he did not see any sand.
One witness stated on the police report that she saw Robin hit the guard rail and did not see another car. The other witness stated that on the road before the exit ramp, “I saw her let go of the bike and hands out to the sides in a flying motion”. The witnesses testified at the hearing to the same information they provided on the police report.
But our investigator previously obtained written statements from the witnesses about what they saw including the fact that both witnesses lost sight of Robin on the exit ramp and neither witness saw the accident occur. They only saw events leading up to the accident and after the accident.
While we showed that the police officer’s testimony was not believable and that the witnesses did not see the accident occur, Robin’s testimony was detailed, in agreement with the two drivers, and extremely believable. The judge did not believe the police officer and ruled that he found Robin was struck by a hit and run car. Her insurance company immediately paid the claim.
Robin Stissi provided permission to use her name in this article.
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Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York; He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Franckel is well-known in New York for representing motorcyclists and created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®.