Attorneys Jeff D. DeFrancisco and Charles L. Falgiatano
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Car accidents are a common occurrence in Syracuse, and while they happen with regularity, that does not mean they are not preventable. Rather, most collisions are brought about by the careless driving of one or more people involved in the crash. While typically, issues of negligence must be decided by a jury, in cases in which liability is clear, plaintiffs may be granted judgment as a matter of law. In a recent opinion, a New York court discussed the standard for granting summary judgment in a car accident case in which it ultimately ruled in favor of the plaintiff. If you were injured in an accident, you should confer with a Syracuse car accident attorney regarding your potential claims.

The Subject Collision

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered substantial injuries in an accident that occurred when the car she was driving was struck by a car driven by the defendant. The crash happened at an intersection that was governed by a traffic light. The plaintiff proceeded through the intersection as the light was in her favor when she was hit by the defendant, who ran the red light. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for her damages. After discovery closed, she moved for summary judgment, but the court denied her motion. She then appealed.

Proving Negligence as a Matter of Law in a Car Crash Case

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling. The court explained that if a plaintiff in a case alleging negligence moves for summary judgment, he or she must then prove, prima facie, that the defendant violated a duty owed to the plaintiff and that the breach proximately caused the plaintiff to suffer injuries. Further, the court noted that a plaintiff does not have to demonstrate that he or she was not comparatively negligent in order for the court to grant summary judgment. Continue reading

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Usually, when someone is hurt at work, they are limited to the benefits available to them under the applicable workers’ compensation laws. Occasionally, however, the facts are such that a separate case, such as a Syracuse automobile accident lawsuit, might be possible, as well.

For example, if someone is hurt in a car accident while on the job, the injured individual might be able to seek compensation from a negligent motorist who caused the crash. It should be noted that the injured person might have to repay some of the money that he or she received in workers’ compensation benefits.

Facts of the Case

In a case appealed from the Supreme Court of Kings County, the plaintiff was a police officer who was involved in a traffic accident which he alleged was caused by the defendant motorist. At the time of the crash, the plaintiff was responding to another officer’s request for assistance in what the plaintiff believed was an emergency situation. The plaintiff’s lights, sirens, and rumbler were activated at the time of the collision, which occurred when the defendant failed to pull over as the plaintiff’s cruiser approached as required under the law and, instead, turned left and drove directly into the police vehicle.

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Syracuse car accident cases often come down to the question of which party (or, sometimes, which eyewitness) to believe. If one party says he was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light and this testimony is unopposed, he or she may be granted partial summary judgment; in such a situation, a trial will only be necessary if the parties disagree on the issue of damages.

However, if the opposing party or another witness claims that the accident happened when one party abruptly darted in front of the other and stopped unnecessarily, the case will probably proceed toward a jury trial on the question of fault. After all, one of the main duties of a jury member is to resolve factual inconsistencies by deciding who to believe when the parties disagree about what happened.

Facts of the Case

In a case appealed from the Supreme Court of Bronx County, the plaintiff was a man who alleged that he was injured as a result of the negligence of the defendant bus driver. He also asserted a claim against the bus driver’s employer, most likely asserting a claim of vicarious liability (although the exact details of this portion of the case was not explained in the appeal). According to the plaintiff, the accident occurred when he was stopped at an intersection and rear-ended by the bus.

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In a New York medical malpractice case, there is a strong preference that matters be determined on their merits. This means, among other things, that such a case is rarely dismissed for failure to comply with discovery requests during the litigation process. Generally speaking, the courts prefer to use less drastic measures whenever possible.

Still, dismissal of an otherwise valid claim for failure to abide by procedural requirements is a possibility in some cases. Thus, it is important that a would-be medical negligence litigant seek the counsel of a qualified attorney who can assist with all aspects of the pre-trial, trial, and post-trial phases of the case.

The defendant’s insurance company will jump at any opportunity to have the plaintiff’s case dismissed, and an aggressive defense is to be expected. This typically includes an attempt to end the case prior to trial, either via a motion to dismiss or a motion for summary judgment.

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Syracuse Medical malpractice cases tend to involve multiple parties and a myriad of legal issues. Typically, all of the patient’s claims are tried in the same trial, complicated though it may be.

Occasionally, however, either the patient or the medical provider may ask that the issues be severed and that separate trials be had. It is unusual for a trial court to grant such a motion, as bifurcated trials are by far the exception rather than the rule.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a New York County Supreme Court case was a former patient of the defendant medical doctor. After the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the doctor setting forth a claim for medical malpractice, the doctor asserted a statute of limitations defense. According to the doctor’s view of the case, the plaintiff had not brought his claim within the limitations period allowed by law, and thus his claim should be dismissed as untimely.

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In a Syracuse medical malpractice case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant medical provider breached the applicable standard of care. This standard must be determined on a case-by-case basis because not every doctor, nurse, or medical clinic owes a patient the same duty.

For instance, physicians in different specialties may have different duties to diagnose a particular disease in a patient. This means that a general practitioner or “family doctor” might not be expected to recognize a rare disease or illness in every situation.

It should also be noted that, even if it is determined that a particular medical provider did breach a duty of care, the inquiry does not stop there. Additionally, the plaintiff must also be able to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that this breach of care was a proximate cause of the injuries for which the patient or his or her family seeks monetary compensation.

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In most Syracuse car accident cases that are not settled prior to trial, the amount of money damages to which an injured person is entitled is a matter to be determined by the jury. There are multiple factors to be considered in assessing the amount due, and the jury does have a fair amount of latitude in making its determination.

This is not to say, however, that the plaintiff’s fate in completely in the hands of the jury. There are certain checks on the system, including the possibility that the amount awarded by the jury may be set aside by an appellate court. When this happens, the reviewing court may issue what is called an “additur” or a “remittitur,” in which a more reasonable amount is suggested and, if the parties agree, the judgment is then modified to reflect the agreed upon amount.

If the opposing party does not agree to the suggested award, he or she has the option of appealing the matter further or having the matter returned to the trial court for a new trial.

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The medical condition known as a “stroke” occurs when there is poor blood flow to the brain. Suffering a stroke can result in debilitating personal injuries and even death. High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for strokes.

If a doctor’s negligence causes a patient to suffer a stroke, the patient may have a claim for medical malpractice. A Syracuse medical negligence attorney can help you review the facts of your case if you believe that you or a loved one may have a malpractice claim against a particular doctor or healthcare provider.

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Most Syracuse medical malpractice lawsuits revolve around the issue of whether the defendant healthcare provider deviated from the standard of care that applied to the plaintiff’s medical treatment and/or whether any such deviation was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or death. This is not always the only potential claim, however.

In addition, in some cases, the plaintiff may be able to assert what is known as a “lack of informed consent” claim. A plaintiff who asserts such a claim against a defendant medical provider is, in most cases, alleging that he or she was not given sufficient information about the risks, benefits, and alternatives to a course of treatment to make an informed choice in the matter.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs in a medical malpractice case appealed from the Supreme Court of Richmond County was a woman, joined by her husband (asserting a derivative claim), who sought to assert a medical malpractice claim against the defendants (a gynecologist and the medical practice that employed him). According to the plaintiffs, the defendants had failed to obtain informed consent for a sterilization procedure undergone by the woman and/or had departed from the accepted standard of care for the procedure. The plaintiffs further asserted that, as a result of the defendants’ negligence, the woman had suffered serious personal injuries and had required extensive medical treatment, including a quadruple bypass surgery.

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A Syracuse school bus accident case begins with the question of whether the defendant owed a particular duty of care to the plaintiff. Sometimes, the duty in question was specific (like the duty to drive no faster than a certain speed in a school zone in which children are present), but sometimes it was more general (such as the duty to keep a proper lookout).

Once a duty has been established, the next question is whether that duty was breached. If it was, the third inquiry is whether the defendant’s breach of duty was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s damages. Generally speaking, in order for a breach of duty to have been the proximate cause in a particular case, the harm must have been foreseeable (and not just a “fluke” or “freak accident.”)

If the first three elements can be proven by a preponderance of the evidence, the plaintiff must then prove his or her “damages.” The damages element speaks to the harm that befell the plaintiff as a proximate result of the defendant’s breach of duty and may include pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and the like.

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