Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Published on:

There seems to be a widely held belief that, in a rear-end collision, the driver in the second car is automatically at fault. While such a driver is usually held liable in such a situation, this is not necessarily the result in every case. It all comes down to the particular facts in the case at hand. For example, what if there was construction ahead and the first driver adhered to signage warning drivers to slow down, but the second driver did not?

What if a large animal (such a deer) ran into the path of the first vehicle, causing her to stop suddenly to avoid a dangerous crash? What if the second driver was on his or her phone and not paying attention? Sometimes such cases must be resolved by a jury, with each side making their respective arguments as to why the other was at fault.

Another potential scenario is that there wasn’t just one accident but several separate accidents that occurred in rapid succession. Who is to blame in those kinds of cases? Unfortunately, the answer is not always clear.

Continue reading

Published on:

There are four steps to establishing liability in a Syracuse car accident case: duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Once each of these elements has been proven, the remaining issue is usually the amount of money damages necessary to compensate the plaintiff for his or her pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses.

Sometimes, the trial court will rule, in advance of trial, that the plaintiff is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law as to liability because the defendant has not presented enough evidence for the case to go the jury on this issue. When this happens, a trial is only necessary if the parties cannot agree on a dollar figure on the damages issues. Of course, a defendant may resist a pre-trial ruling on liability, and he or she may even ask for appellate review if such a ruling is made.

Facts of the Case

In a recent pedestrian accident case arising in the Supreme Court of New York County, the plaintiff was a woman who claimed that the defendant motorist struck her while she was crossing an intersection. The plaintiff further averred that she was within the crosswalk at the time of the accident, that the traffic light was in her favor, that the defendant was making a left turn at the time of impact, and that she suffered numerous injuries due to his negligence. The plaintiff filed a motion for partial summary judgment, seeking judgment as a matter of law on the issue of liability. The defendant opposed the plaintiff’s motion, but the trial court rejected the defendant’s arguments and ruled in the plaintiff’s favor. The defendant appealed.

Continue reading

Published on:

Although a Syracuse car accident can happen in many different ways, rear-end collisions, side-impact accidents, and head-on crashes are some of the most common scenarios for car wrecks nowadays. Driver distraction or inattention, speeding, and drunk or impaired driving are common causes of these types of car accidents. In motor vehicle accident cases, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that the accident proximately resulted from a breach of duty on the defendant’s part.

If the plaintiff cannot produce sufficient evidence to raise a question for the trier of fact on the question of negligence, his or her case is likely to be dismissed prior to trial. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to be represented by a qualified accident attorney in such cases.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a woman who was riding in the car of the first defendant as they traveled along a busy highway. An SUV that had been traveling in the same vicinity as the first defendant allegedly “suddenly merged” and stopped in front of the first defendant’s vehicle. The first defendant was able to stop without rear-ending the SUV, but the second defendant, who was traveling behind the first defendant in traffic, was unable to stop and ran into the back of the first defendant’s vehicle. The plaintiff sued both the first defendant and the second defendant, seeking monetary compensation for injuries she allegedly sustained in the crash.

Continue reading

Published on:

In a Syracuse motorcycle accident negligence lawsuit, the premise is simple: the defendant should be held legally liable to the person or family who was hurt by his, her, or its failure to act in a reasonably prudent manner. Four elements are required in order to prove negligence: duty, breach of duty, damages, and proximate cause.

In a car, truck , or motorcycle accident case, the defendant is usually averred to have breached a duty by failing to operate his or her vehicle as required by law. Speeding, distracted driving, and failure to yield are common examples of these types of claims. Sometimes, however, liability can arise in other situations.

Regardless of who is named as the defendant in a negligence lawsuit, the basic issue is, did the defendant conduct arise to a level that was unreasonable (or illegal) under the circumstances? If so, he or she can potentially be held liable for the damages incurred by the injured party or his or her family.

Continue reading

Published on:

Under New York law, there are certain categories of injuries that can take a case outside the limitations of the “no fault” laws that would otherwise apply (and limit the injured person’s recovery substantially). Of course, as with everything else concerning Syracuse car accident cases, the insurance company that insured the careless driver will probably argue that the case should stay within the confines of no fault – thus saving them a payout on an injury claim caused by their negligent or reckless insured. Ultimately, these issues are resolved by a judge (and a jury if the case proceeds that far) – at least in cases in which the injured person retains counsel and fights for his or her legal rights, rather than allow the insurance adjuster to decide what is or is not due the victim.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent case were the parents of a minor child who was allegedly injured in a car accident caused by the defendant driver. The wreck happened when the car in which the child was riding was struck from behind by the defendant driver while waiting to turn left. Neither the minor child nor his mother (who was driving the car) sought medical care immediately after the accident. However, both later complained of injuries that they believed were caused by the crash. The parents filed suit against both the driver and owner of the vehicle on the minor’s behalf, and the mother sued in her own right, as well, seeking monetary compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses caused by the motor vehicle accident.

The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiffs’ complaint. The Supreme Court of Broome County partially granted the motion, thereby dismissing the mother and the child’s claims of serious injury under the permanent consequential limitation of use category and dismissing the mother’s claim of serious injury under the significant limitation of use category. The defendants appealed the trial court’s denial of the remainder of their motion; the plaintiffs cross appealed.

Continue reading

Published on:

After a Syracuse motor vehicle accident, the drivers, eyewitnesses, and first responders likely have their own opinions as to who caused the crash – Driver A or Driver B, assuming it was a two-vehicle accident. However, in some situations, it is determined that the parties have shared fault in causing the wreck. Under New York law, a party’s monetary recovery in a negligence case is reduced in proportion to the percentage of fault attributed to him or her by the finder of fact. Thus, insurance companies have an incentive to blame the opposing party if at all possible, so as to pay a lesser amount of damages even if their own insured was “mostly” to blame. Thus, it is very important that a person who has been hurt in a car, truck, or motorcycle collision talk to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible so that his or her legal rights may be protected.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case filed in the Supreme Court of Steuben County, the plaintiff was a woman who was riding as a passenger on a motorcycle when it collided with a dump truck that allegedly ignored a traffic control device. She filed suit against the owner and operator of the dump truck, as well as the driver of the motorcycle. The dump truck owner and operator filed a cross claim against the motorcycle driver, alleging that he was to blame for the accident and seeking indemnification and contribution. The motorcycle driver passed away while the lawsuit was pending, and the administratrix of his estate was substituted. The trial court granted the administratrix’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the cross claim asserted against her.

The Court’s Ruling on the Issues

The Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department reversed the trial court’s order granting the administratrix’s motion for summary judgment on the cross claim of the remaining defendants. The court noted that, in moving for summary judgment, the administratrix had the initial burden of showing, as a matter of law, that the motorcycle driver was operating his motorcycle in a lawful and prudent manner and that “there was nothing [he] could have done to avoid the collision.” In the court’s opinion, the administratrix failed in this burden.

Continue reading

Published on:

A Syracuse motorcycle accident can cause serious, life-threatening personal injuries or even death. Those who have been hurt or lost a loved one in a motorcycle crash have certain legal rights, including the right to file a negligence claim against the person or persons responsible for the accident. If the claim is successful, the victim or his or her family may receive payment for medical treatment, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and other losses caused by the accident. It is important that legal action be taken promptly, as there is a strict statute of limitations in these types of cases. Claims not filed within the time set by state law are likely to be dismissed.

Facts of the Case

In a recently decided appellate court case, the plaintiff was the guardian of a motorcyclist who was injured in a 2012 accident that occurred when the motorcyclist hit a utility pole after swerving to avoid a car that was exiting a driveway. The guardian filed separate lawsuits against the driver of the car and the county in which the accident occurred, alleging that the motorist was negligent in the operation of his vehicle and that the county was negligent in failing to maintain the vegetation along the street where the accident occurred and in designing the street with a certain curvature. After the suits were consolidated, the county filed a motion for summary judgment, which the Supreme Court of Tompkins County denied. The county appealed.

The Decision of the Appellate Court

The New York Appellate Division, Third Department, affirmed the lower court’s decision to deny the county’s motion for summary judgment. The court first noted that the driver of the automobile that had pulled out in front of the motorcycle had explained that he did so because his view was obstructed by trees, bushes, and the curve of the road. According to the appellate tribunal, it was undisputed that the county had a duty to maintain the street in a reasonably safe condition; that duty included trimming vegetation within the street’s right-of-way to assure visibility of traffic.

Continue reading

Published on:

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).

Continue reading

Published on:

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.

Continue reading

Published on:

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.

Continue reading

Contact Information