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New York Court Agrees that Summary Judgment Was Not Warranted in Multi-Car Crash

Car accidents can happen in so many ways – head on collisions, T-bones, and rear-end wrecks, just to name a few. Some Syracuse car accidents result from “chain reaction” or “multi-vehicle” crashes in which not just one or two but potentially several vehicles are involved.

The challenge in any accident case is figuring out which party was at fault, or, if more than one individual, business, or governmental entity contributed to the cause of the crash, the relative fault between them. This can be an especially challenging task when there was not just one, but perhaps a series of accidents, all happening in rapid succession.

As much as one or more of the drivers involved in a multi-car crash might prefer not to be included as a defendant because he or she believes that most or all of the fault for the wreck should be assigned to others, sometimes it is necessary to include all parties involved in the accident, at least until the evidence has been fully developed. Then, if the case proceeds to trial, the jury can assign fault based on the testimony of the various parties, the physical evidence, the opinions of expert witnesses, and the like.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case that was appealed from a decision of the Supreme Court of Queens County, the plaintiff was a man who was allegedly injured in a traffic accident involving multiple vehicles. According to the plaintiff, the accident was caused by the negligence of the first defendant, whom he alleged struck his vehicle from behind as both vehicles were slowing to a stop, as well as the negligence of the second defendant, who crashed into the first defendant’s automobile after the initial collision.

The first defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, asking that the plaintiff’s complaint seeking compensation for personal injuries suffered in the accident be dismissed as against him. The trial court denied his motion, and he sought appellate relief.

The Appellate Court’s Decision in the Case

The Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division, Second Judicial Department, affirmed the lower tribunal’s order denying summary judgment to the first defendant. According to the court, it would be erroneous to grant summary judgment to the first defendant prior to discovery, given the circumstances presented. In so holding, the court noted that the plaintiff had pointed to several unresolved issues of material fact, including the speed of the first defendant’s vehicle immediately prior to the crash.

Get Advice About Your Personal Injury Case

Car accidents can inflict great physical harm and even death on innocent parties. If you have been hurt in a chain reaction or multi-vehicle accident in the Syracuse area, the attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, LLP can help you get started on filing a claim for the compensation that you are due for your lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical costs caused by the accident. Call us at 315-479-9000 or use the contact form on this website to talk to us about scheduling a free consultation.

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