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New York Court Discusses Evidence Needed to Establish a Non-Negligent Reason for a Rear-End Collision

When rear-end collisions occur, it is presumed that the party that struck another motorist from behind is at fault. The second motorist can refute this presumption by producing evidence showing a non-negligent reason for the crash. If they cannot, however, judgment should be granted in favor of the plaintiff as a matter of law. The evidence needed to defeat a plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in a lawsuit arising out of a rear-end collision was the topic of a recent ruling issued by a New York court. If you were hurt in a crash caused by another driver, you might be owed damages, and it is advisable to meet with a Syracuse personal injury lawyer promptly.

The Procedural History of the Case

It is reported that the plaintiff was operating a scooter in the right lane of a highway and was followed by a bus driven by the defendant. As they approached an intersection, the plaintiff moved into the left lane of traffic, after which the defendant moved into the left lane as well and struck the plaintiff. The plaintiff suffered severe injuries in the crash and filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant. After discovery closed, the plaintiff moved for summary judgment. The defendant filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. The trial court denied the plaintiff’s motion and granted the defendant’s, after which the plaintiff appealed.

Evidence Needed to Establish a Non-Negligent Reason for a Rear-End Collision

On appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court order to the extent that it granted the defendant’s motion. The appellate court explained that under New York law, a rear-end crash with a vehicle that is stopped or stopping demonstrates a prima facie case of negligence on the part of the second driver. As such, the second driver must provide a non-negligent reason for the accident to rebut the inference of negligence.

In the subject case, the appellate court noted that the evidence the plaintiff submitted included a video taken from the bus, which raised a triable issue of fact as to whether there was a reason for the accident other than negligence. As such, the order was proper to the extent it denied the plaintiff’s motion. The appellate court explained, though, that the defendant failed to adequately demonstrate that he did not proximately cause the collision, as required to illustrate that judgment should be granted in his favor as a matter of law. Thus, the portion of the order granting the defendant’s motion was vacated.

Meet with a Dedicated Syracuse Personal Injury Lawyer

Rear-end car accidents are typically the fault of the second driver, and in many instances, people hurt in such collisions will be able to obtain judgment in their favor without having to proceed to trial. If you were injured in a car crash, it is smart to meet with an attorney to discuss your rights. The dedicated Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your collision and advise you of what compensation you may be able to recover. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a meeting.

 

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