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Court Examines Proximate Cause in New York Car Accident Cases

When multi-vehicle collisions occur, there is often more than one party at fault. As such, people injured in such accidents will often name multiple parties as defendants. Simply because one defendant bears a portion of responsibility for a car crash does not mean that the other defendants cannot be deemed liable as well, as noted in an opinion recently issued by a New York court in a car accident case. If you sustained injuries in a crash involving several vehicles, it is wise to confer with a Syracuse personal injury lawyer regarding your rights.

Facts and Procedure

It is reported that the plaintiff was driving on a New York parkway when she was involved in an accident with two other vehicles. She suffered injuries in the crash and subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the drivers of the other cars. One of the defendants moved for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss the claims against her. The court granted her motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Proximate Cause in Car Accident Cases

On appeal, the court reversed the trial court ruling. The court explained that a defendant seeking summary judgment on a negligence claim arising out of a car crash bears the burden of proving, prima facie, that they were not at fault for the accident occurring.

The court noted that accidents can have more than one proximate cause, and the issue of proximate cause generally must be resolved by the fact finder. In other words, the matter of proximate cause should only be decided as a matter of law where there is a single conclusion that can be extrapolated from the facts of the record.

Thus, summary judgment on the issue of liability is not appropriate where the conflicting deposition testimony about how the accident occurred that is offered in support of the motion fails to alleviate triable issues of fact regarding the cause of the accident.

In the subject case, the court found that the defendant failed to establish her prima facie right to judgment in her favor as a matter of law in that she failed to show that she did not have any fault in bringing about the collision. The court explained that in support of her motion, the defendant offered her own deposition testimony as well as that of the plaintiff, which set forth conflicting versions of how the accident transpired. As such, the court found that she failed to eliminate any triable issues of fact and reversed the trial court ruling in her favor.

Speak to an Assertive Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney

Multi-vehicle accidents often cause substantial losses, and in most instances, multiple parties will be deemed responsible. If you were hurt in a collision, it is prudent to speak to an attorney about your potential claims. The assertive Syracusepersonal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your options and help you to seek any damages you may be owed. You can reach us by calling 833-247-8427 or by using our form online to set up a conference.

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