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Court Discusses Comparative Fault in New York Car Accident Cases

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.

Comparative Negligence in Car Accident Cases

The appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling. The court explained that drives must exercise reasonable care when driving, regardless of the invitation to proceed provided by green lights. Thus, under the doctrine of comparative negligence, a motorist who legally enters an intersection with a green light must exercise reasonable care. Therefore, a plaintiff could potentially be found at fault for a car crash if he or she neglected to exercise reasonable care in order to avoid colliding with another car in the intersection.

In the subject case, the appellate court noted that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that there were no triable issues of fact on the matter of whether he was comparatively negligent, as required to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Specifically, questions remained as to whether he was attentive to the conditions of the road or was otherwise comparatively at fault for bringing about the crash. Thus, the appellate court found that the trial court properly denied the portion of the plaintiff’s motion, which was, effectively, a motion for summary judgment asking the court to dismiss the defendant’s affirmative defense of comparative negligence. Based on the foregoing, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Speak to a Dedicated Syracuse Lawyer

Car accidents can cause substantial physical and economic damages, and parties who harm others with their careless driving should be held accountable. If you were injured in a car accident, it is advisable to speak to an attorney about your options. The Syracuse attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are adept at helping people harmed in collisions seek compensation for their losses, and if you hire us, we will work tirelessly on your behalf. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to schedule a meeting.



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