Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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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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Sometimes, a Syracuse automobile accident case seems very simple at first. If one driver runs a stop sign and causes an accident, that driver – and only that driver – is at fault, right?

Unfortunately, things are not always as they seem, especially when it comes to motor vehicle accident litigation. This is especially true when it comes to multi-car accidents and the resolution of issues pertaining to comparative negligence.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiffs were two individuals who were injured in a multi-vehicle crash. They filed separate lawsuits naming several other drivers as defendants. One driver (and his father, who owned the vehicle he was driving when the accident occurred) filed motions for summary judgment in the plaintiffs’ respective cases. As grounds, they averred that they could not be held liable for the plaintiffs’ damages because the defendant driver had the right-of-way at the time of the accident. According to the defendants’ view of the case, the conduct of another driver, who allegedly ran a stop sign, was the sole proximate cause of the accident.

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Timeliness is very important in a New York automobile accident case. If a claim is not filed within the statute of limitations, there is a strong likelihood that it will be dismissed by the court on procedural grounds.

However, there are a few – a very few – exceptions to this general principle. One of these exceptions is based on a doctrine known as “relation back,” under which a late-filed claim can be “dated” as if it were filed earlier. However, this doctrine only applies to claims relating to a lawsuit that has already been timely filed.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the New York Court of Appeals was called upon to consider the various issues arising in three consolidated actions filed as a result of multi-vehicle accident that occurred in 2011. The accident happened when a vehicle (in which several employees of a certain business were riding) stalled on a bridge. That car was struck from behind by a second car, which was then hit by a third car. One of the passengers in the first car died from injuries suffered in the wreck.

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No matter how careful you are and how much protective gear you have on when you ride your bicycle, a negligent motorist can hit you at any time. If this has happened to you or someone you know, you need to seek the help of a skilled Syracuse personal injury lawyer who can help. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand the devastating impact that a bicycle accident can have on the victim and his or her family.

Law enforcement are investigating a hit-and-run accident that took place in Brooklyn and left a bicyclist dead recently. The 21-year-old victim was riding in a bike lane parallel to a truck as both approached the road. The truck allegedly made a right turn and hit the bicyclist, dragging the bicyclist for several feet before driving off. The victim was on an electronic bike and was wearing a helmet at the time of the wreck. Tragically, he was pronounced dead at the scene of the incident. Police are still looking for the truck and have mentioned that the truck driver may not have known that he hit the cyclist.

Liability for Bicycle Accidents

Bicycle accidents can leave individuals seriously injured, in some cases, even restricting their mobility permanently or causing death. If you have been in a bicycle accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to sue the at-fault party. Negligence is the failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances. The behavior typically consists of actions but can also involve omissions, namely when a person fails to act when they have a duty to do so. To establish negligence, the party filing the lawsuit has the burden of proving the following: the defendant owed the bicyclist a duty of care; the defendant breached the duty of care owed to the bicyclist; and the defendant’s breach was the direct cause of the bicycle accident and the bicyclist’s resulting harm.

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