Articles Posted in Car Accidents

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In many car accident cases, proving liability can be difficult.  In some collisions, though, it seems as if liability is clear. For example, in rear-often crashes, there is generally a presumption that the second driver is responsible. While that is generally true, it is not an irrefutable assumption, as demonstrated in a recent New York opinion issued in a case arising out of a rear-end collision. If you sustained harm in a car accident, it is prudent to meet with a Syracuse car accident attorney to discuss your options for seeking damages.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff, a commercial truck driver, was driving a truck for his employer on a New York highway. He was stopped in traffic when he was suddenly struck from behind by another commercial truck. He did not hear brakes or tires screeching prior to the impact. After the crash, he got out and spoke with the defendant driver, who was operating a commercial truck on behalf of the defendant company.

Allegedly, the defendant driver apologized and stated it was his first year driving commercial trucks. The plaintiff felt no pain initially, but subsequently developed pain in his back and neck. He subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging the defendant driver was negligent and the defendant company was vicariously liable for his negligence. After the parties completed depositions, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment on the issue of the defendants’ negligence. Continue reading

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In many lawsuits that arise out of car accidents, the defendants’ liability appears to be clear. Even in cases in which it is evident that a defendant’s negligence caused a car accident, however, he or she is generally not precluded from arguing that the plaintiff is partially at fault as well. This was demonstrated in a recent New York ruling, in which an appellate court affirmed the denial of the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment seeking dismissal of the defendant’s affirmative defense of comparative negligence. If you were harmed in a collision, it is smart to speak to a skillful Syracuse car accident lawyer regarding your potential claims.

History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff suffered injuries when his car was struck by the defendant’s car. The accident occurred at an intersection that was controlled by a traffic light. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for his injuries in which he alleged the defendant was negligent.

Allegedly, in response, the defendant set forth an answer in which he asserted the affirmative defense of comparative negligence. The plaintiff moved for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the affirmative defense. The trial court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed. Continue reading

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In lawsuits arising out of car accidents, plaintiffs typically have to demonstrate not only that the defendant caused the collision but also that they suffered damages as a result of the crash. In some cases, though, defendants will not dispute liability but will argue that the plaintiffs did not suffer damages as a result of the accident. The evidence needed to establish that a plaintiff did not sustain a serious injury in a car accident was the topic of a recent New York appellate opinion. If you were hurt in a collision, it is wise to confer with a knowledgeable Syracuse car accident lawyer about your possible causes of action.

The History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was driving her car when she was rear-ended by a vehicle operated by the defendant. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, asserting a negligence claim and arguing that she suffered serious injuries as defined by New York insurance law. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the trial court to dismiss the complaint. The court granted the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Evidence Needed to Establish the Lack of a Serious Injury

On appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling. The court explained that the defendant argued that the plaintiff did not suffer a serious injury as a result of the accident and that any injuries the plaintiff had were pre-existing and were not causally related to the accident. In support of her motion, the defendant provided a report from a medical expert who opined that the plaintiff’s harm was degenerative in nature. Continue reading

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When catastrophic accidents cause multiple fatalities, it is not uncommon for surviving family members to seek to recover damages from the parties that caused or contributed to the accident. Simply showing that a tragedy occurred is not sufficient to establish fault, though. Instead, plaintiffs pursuing claims following deadly collisions must show that defendant owed the deceased parties a duty of care, and the breach of the duty is what lead to their deaths, as discussed in a recent New York opinion arising out of a fatal limousine crash. If you lost a loved one in a car accident, it is prudent to meet with a Syracuse personal injury attorney to discuss what you must prove to recover compensation.

The Facts of the Case

Reportedly, in October 2018, a tragic collision caused the death of twenty people. The accident occurred when the brake system of a stretch limousine failed, and the limousine crashed into the parking lot of a restaurant. The driver, seventeen passengers, and two people standing in the parking lot lost their lives. The plaintiffs, representatives of the estates of the deceased individuals, filed a lawsuit against multiple parties, including the chauffeur company that owned the limousine and the auto body shop that regularly performed repairs on it. The auto body shop moved to dismiss the plaintiffs’ claims of negligence and grossly negligent conduct, arguing the plaintiffs could not establish it owed a duty to the decedents. Upon review, the court denied the auto body shop’s motion.

Establishing Liability for Negligence and Grossly Negligent Conduct

Pursuant to New York law, a court evaluating a defendant’s motion to dismiss must accept plaintiffs’ assertions as true and grant them every possible inference. The court’s duty is not to determine whether plaintiffs can ultimately prove their claims but instead whether they have stated a cause of action. Continue reading

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In many cases arising out of car accidents, the defendant will argue that the plaintiff was at fault for the collision and, therefore, should not be awarded damages. While comparative negligence is a valid defense and can diminish or preclude a plaintiff’s recovery of compensation, mere allegations that a plaintiff’s carelessness causes a crash is insufficient to establish fault. This was shown in a recent New York opinion issued in a case arising out of a rear-end collision. If you were hurt in an automobile accident, it is wise to consult a Syracuse personal injury attorney to evaluate what claims you may be able to pursue.

Facts of the Case

It is alleged that the plaintiff’s car was struck in the rear by a vehicle operated by the defendant driver, who was working for the defendant company at the time of the crash. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants, alleging their negligence caused her to suffer harm. In the defendants’ answer to the complaint, they asserted an affirmative defense of comparative negligence.

Reportedly, the plaintiff filed a motion asking for summary judgment on the issue of liability and for the dismissal of the comparative negligence defense. The court dismissed the motion as premature, and the plaintiff appealed.   Continue reading

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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 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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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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