Robert A. Solomon, P.C.
Two Offices Serving New York & New Jersey

Man struck by New York City police car also hit with repair bill

You don't have to live in Manhattan to know that pedestrians are everywhere. And while they're required to obey crossing signals and other road signs, motorists must still keep an eye out for walkers and yield to them when necessary. Unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen anyway. And sometimes they involve the very people hired to protect and serve New York's residents.

A 25-year-old man knows this firsthand after being involved in a pedestrian accident in Manhattan earlier this year. The man was crossing a street on the night of April 12 when a New York Police Department cruiser struck him in the leg. The man hit the car's side mirror before falling to the ground and also injuring his wrist. Despite the NYPD's assertion that the accident was the pedestrian's fault, he insists he had the right of way; he was crossing on a green light, and neither his hearing aid nor the fact that he'd had a couple beers affected his judgment, he said.

The accident required the man to go to a hospital, which billed him $1,200. Although his parents were able to cover the cost, the family sued the Police Department in an effort to be reimbursed for the man's expenses. But instead of getting the response to the lawsuit that the man and his parents expected, he received a $1,028 repair bill for the damage to the cruiser. The bill was sent from a law firm demanding that he pay the bill or face legal trouble. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Although the man interpreted the bill as retribution for filing the lawsuit, the NYPD now says that the bill was sent in error. But in a separate case, the same law firm also sent a repair bill to a man who was killed in an accident with a patrol car. That man's family is still embroiled in a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.

People injured through no fault of their own should not have to cover such damage, but they may not know how to react to aggressive collection efforts or other legal action from the other party in the accident. This is when a qualified personal injury attorney can come in handy. Pedestrians who need help getting compensation as they fight off damage claims might do well to contact a legal professional who can sort out the details for them.

Source: New York Daily News, "NYPD adds insult to injury: Man billed for patrol car damage after being struck," Rocco Parascandola, Nov. 11, 2012

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