In the Matter of Cymba Melville v. Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (decided on or around November 14 2022, Index No. 705389/19), the Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed a Queens County Supreme Court Order which denied a petition, in a hit-and-run accident, which sought permission to file a lawsuit against the Motor Vehicle Accident Indemnification Corporation (“MVAIC”).
The case arose when the petitioner allegedly was injured when a vehicle in which she was a passenger in was struck by another vehicle. As she initially claimed to not know the identity of the owner and/or operator of the other vehicle – and as she presumably did not know whether that vehicle was insured, as the vehicle she was in was likely uninsured, and as she likely did not have any automobile insurance of her own (including by way of her household) – then she filed a Notice of Intention to Make a Claim with MVAIC (as MVAIC, a non-profit organization created by NYS legislation, is often a last resort and option for injured persons in automobile accidents when there is no other available insurance).
The Supreme Court, however, denied the petition, and the Appellate Division affirmed – with a holding that included the following: “The Supreme Court did not err in denying the petition pursuant to Insurance Law Section 5218 for permission to commence an action against MVAIC to recover damages for personal injuries sustained and caused by the negligence of an unknown party. MVAIC was created in 1958 to compensate innocent victims of hit-and-run motor vehicle accidents…Here, although there is no dispute that the petitioner was a qualified person pursuant to Insurance Law Section 5202(b), the petitioner failed to sustain her burden of demonstrating that the accident was one in which the identity of the owner and operator of the vehicle was unknown or not readily ascertainable through reasonable efforts.” The Court further noted – and what appears to be a significant and decisive factor in the Court’s reasoning – is, “While testifying at an examination under oath, the petitioner identified the driver of the vehicle which struck her vehicle as an individual with whom she was acquainted.”
Salvatore R. Marino, Esq.