Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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Although New York is a “no fault” insurance state, those who suffer serious personal injuries in a Syracuse car accident caused by someone else’s negligence may be able to recover money damages from the person whose breach of duty caused the crash. Generally speaking, there is an exception to the usual provisions of no fault when an accident caused by another’s negligence causes death, dismemberment, disfigurement, permanent loss of use or impairment of a body part, or a non-permanent injury that keeps the injured person from his or her usual activities for at least 90 of the 180 days immediately following the collision.

Of course, automobile accident liability insurance companies fight hard against a finding that would take a particular case outside the scope of the no fault statute, and it is up to the court system to determine each case on its own merits.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case appealed from the Supreme Court of Nassau County, the plaintiffs were involved in an automobile accident that they alleged was caused by the defendant driver’s negligence. They filed suit, seeking to recover money damages for their personal injuries. The defendant sought summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiffs’ complaint should be dismissed because neither of them had sustained a “serious injury,” as that term was defined in New York Insurance Law § 5102(d).

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A Syracuse car accident can leave an innocent driver or passenger physically injured, either temporarily or permanently. It is important that a person who has been hurt in an accident understand the nuances of New York insurance law as he or she navigates the claims process.

An established motor vehicle accident attorney can help guide the injured person through the process, explaining concepts such as “negligence,” “no fault,” and “serious injury.” The defendant’s insurance company is already very familiar with these terms, of course, leaving the injured person at a serious disadvantage – as if being injured, unable to work, and without a vehicle was not enough.

Facts of the Case

In a recent appellate case that was filed in the Supreme Court for Monroe County and heard on appeal by the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, Fourth Department, the plaintiff was a man who filed suit against the defendant driver, seeking monetary compensation for injuries he alleged sustained in an automobile accident that occurred when the defendant’s vehicle struck the plaintiff’s vehicle.

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New York is a “no fault” state for purposes of automobile accident claims. While “no fault” does not mean that a negligent driver can never be held liable for a Syracuse car accident caused by his or her failure to act in a reasonably prudent manner, it does require an injured individual to first look to his or her own insurance coverage in relatively minor accidents.

When the provisions of no fault apply, each person’s own insurance company should pay his or her medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs relating to a motor vehicle accident.

In order to take a car wreck case outside the each-party-pays-their-own-expenses concept of the no fault law, an injured person must be able to prove that he or she suffered a serious injury. Examples of such an injury include fractures and broken bones, disfigurement, disability, and limitation of the use of part of the body.

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Under New York’s no-fault insurance laws, not every person who has been involved in a car accident has a right to sue the person responsible for the accident. Likewise, only those who meet certain exceptions to the no-fault rule can file the equivalent of a personal injury claim against their own uninsured/underinsured motorist carrier if the negligent party had no insurance (or too little insurance).

An experienced Syracuse car accident lawyer can review your case and help you determine whether your case meets the threshold for seeking compensation for personal injuries caused by another’s negligence.

In the event that suit is filed, it will ultimately be up to the trial court – and possibly the appeals tribunal, if review is sought – to determine whether the case falls within the purview of no-fault or whether your injuries were significant enough to take your case outside the limitations of the statute.

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New York is considered a “no fault” state for purposes of automobile accident insurance. This means that, when a Syracuse car accident occurs, the driver of the two cars involved in the accident are reimbursed by their respective insurance companies, such that neither party must prove fault against the other.

There is an important exception to this general rule, however. In situations in which someone suffers a “serious injury” in an automobile accident, there is the possibility of a traditional personal injury lawsuit against the allegedly at-fault driver.

Serious injuries include, but are not necessarily limited to, situations in which the victim is disfigured, suffers a fracture, or has permanent physical limitations due to the accident.

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In a Syracuse personal injury lawsuit arising from a car wreck, bicycle accident, or truck collision, the plaintiff has the burden of proving his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. In order to do this, it is important that the accident be investigated promptly, thoroughly, and by experienced professionals who know what to look for.

As the case proceeds towards trial, one or both parties may summary judgment, asking the court to determine an issue as a matter of law based on undisputed factual allegations. While summary judgment can be a useful tool under certain circumstances, it is not always appropriate, as a New York appellate court recently found.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a bicyclist who was allegedly struck by a motor vehicle owned by the defendant corporation (and presumably driven by its agent). The plaintiff filed suit in the Supreme Court, Bronx County, seeking monetary compensation for personal injuries suffered in the accident. Prior to trial, the plaintiff filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion, and he appealed. On appeal, the plaintiff also sought review of the trial court’s denial of his motion to preclude the defendants from submitting an affidavit in opposition to his motion for partial summary judgment and/or to preclude them from testifying at trial.
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Although New York is a “no fault” state for the purposes of automobile accident liability, this does not mean that a negligent driver can never be held accountable for the injuries of a person hurt in a crash. To the contrary, if someone sustains serious injuries in a New York car accident, he or she may be able to seek compensation from the negligent driver for damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

Even if the no-fault threshold is not met, the injured person may have other options, including a claim against his or her own insurance company or, possibly, a claim against his or her employer’s disability insurance company.

Facts of the Case

In a recent appellate court case, the plaintiff was a woman who brought suit against the defendant insurance company in the Supreme Court of Greene County, New York, seeking no-fault lost wage benefits. The plaintiff had been involved in a 2013 car accident that left her unable to work for an unspecified amount of time. She took a leave of absence from her employment and received short-term disability benefits from her employer’s insurer. However, the plaintiff was later terminated from her employment due to her alleged failure to comply with her employer’s leave of absence guidelines.

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In a Syracuse automobile accident lawsuit, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the driver against whom a claim is filed was negligent in some manner.

In order to prove negligence, the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care that was owed to him or her and that the plaintiff was damaged as a proximate result.

If the plaintiff is unable to make a prima facie showing of negligence, it is likely that the defendant driver will file a motion for summary judgment. Unless there are genuine issues of material fact to be resolved at trial, the court may rule that the defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

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In a Syracuse personal injury lawsuit based on a theory of negligence, the plaintiff has the burden of proof. This means that he or she must be able to provide evidence sufficient to convince the jury, by a preponderance of the evidence, to the existence of each and every element of his or her case.

The elements of negligence include duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation.

If the plaintiff’s evidence fails as to any one of these elements, he or she cannot recover money damages against the defendant. Continue reading

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In a Rochester or Syracuse rear-end collision, there is a presumption that the person driving the automobile that ran into the back of the other was a fault in the accident. While there are some circumstances in which the defendant in such a case may be able to avoid liability, the burden is on him or her to prove that there was some reason – other than his or her negligence – for the collision.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a woman who filed suit against the defendants, the owner and the operator of a certain automobile, seeking compensation for injuries she allegedly suffered in a rear-end collision. The defendants sought summary judgment, averring that the plaintiff had not sustained a “serious injury” as that term is defined under New York Insurance Law § 5102(d) (including the categories of significant limitation of use, permanent consequential limitations of use, and 90/180 days). The plaintiff also sought summary judgment, asking the court to rule in her favor both the issue of serious injury and negligence.

The Supreme Court of Niagara County partially granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment and denied the plaintiff’s cross motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff sought review from the intermediate appellate court.

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