Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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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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Many Syracuse personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits are brought by individuals asserting that other people have been negligent. “Negligence” simply means that someone has breached a duty of care owed to another person, thereby causing damages.

Negligence cases can also be filed against businesses and governmental entities – even school districts (both public and private). The inquiry is the same: was a duty breached, causing harm to the plaintiff? If so, the plaintiff can seek compensation for things like medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Of course, there are some potential defenses to a negligence claim. Once such defense is that the plaintiff knew and understood the risks of a certain activity and chose to engage in it anyway. A defendant who can prove “assumption of the risk” may have a good legal argument against being held responsible for harm to a plaintiff who might otherwise be entitled to substantial financial compensation.

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