Too often motorists fail to watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.

This pedestrian car collision happened Tuesday on the very corner where our office is located in Elmira.

Police told the Star-Gazette that Verlyn Fortner, 41, was crossing a street in downtown Elmira Tuesday afternoon when he was struck by a car driven by Richard D. Matson, 61, of Elmira Heights. Police said Mr. Matson’s mirror struck Mr. Fortner as Mr. Fortner was in the crosswalk.

Mr. Fortner was hospitalized with possible broken bones and bruising, police said.

Mr. Matson was cited for Failure to Yield the Right of Way to a Pedestrian.

This is another in a long line of pedestrian and cyclist cases in Elmira in the last year where pedestrians/cyclists have been badly injured by inattentive motorists.

I am currently handling three of these cases where all three of the motorist defendants have the same excuse that they were looking the other direction for cars and simply did not look the other way to see if there were any bikes or walkers coming the other direction. I appreciate that motorists tend to look for BIG objects — other cars and trucks — but they have to also be looking out for smaller objects — walkers, runners, bikers, etc.

Driving is a privilege and one of the legal obligations that goes along with that privilege is the requirement to be attentive to ALL traffic conditions including motorcycles, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Here, the driver will not only face the penalties of the traffic ticket but will also face the potential civil lawsuit if the victim, Verlyn Fortner, consults with an injury lawyer. Quite frankly, Mr. Fortner would be smart to immediately consult with a lawyer who can advise him of his legal rights and help him navigate the complexities of who will pay what are likely to be huge medical bills and other expenses he will incur.  I hope Mr. Fortner will be OK and quickly recover from his injuries.

Thanks for reading.


James B. Reed
NY Car Accident Lawyer
Ziff Law Firm, LLP
Office: (607)733-8866
Toll-Free: 800-ZIFFLAW (943-3529)
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