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New York Court Discusses Fault in Car Accident Cases

Most people will be involved in collisions at some point in their lives, and while some are fortunate to walk away unharmed, others sustain injuries that are not only painful but also costly to treat. Simply because a person suffers harm in an accident does not mean that they will be awarded compensation, however. Rather, a person injured in a car accident must demonstrate that another person is at fault to recover damages. Recently, a New York court issued a ruling in which it discussed the evidence needed to establish fault in car crash cases. If you were hurt in a collision caused by another motorist, you could be owed damages, and it is in your best interest to speak to a Syracuse personal injury attorney regarding your potential claims.

The Facts of the Case

It is alleged that in November 2016, the plaintiff was riding as a passenger in a vehicle driven by the first defendant when it was struck by a vehicle driven by the second defendant. The plaintiff sustained injuries in the crash and subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit.

Reportedly, the first defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not establish she was at fault for the accident and, therefore, the claims against her should be dismissed. While the plaintiff did not oppose the motion, the second defendant did; the court subsequently denied the motion, and the first defendant appealed.

Establishing Fault in New York Car Accident Cases

 On appeal, the appellate court reversed the trial court ruling. The appellate court explained that a defendant that moves for summary judgment on a negligence claim bears the burden of establishing, prima facie, that they were not at fault for the subject accident.

The appellate court further elaborated that a driver granted the right-of-way can reasonably anticipate that other drivers will obey the traffic laws and yield to them. While drivers with the right-of-way must exercise reasonable care to avoid collisions, if they only have a second to react to a driver that failed to yield, they will not be deemed negligent for failing to avoid a collision.

In the subject case, the appellate court noted that the evidence of record that the first defendant submitted in support of her motion clearly demonstrated, prima facie, that she was not at fault for the collision. Thus, the appellate court found that the trial court should have granted her motion for summary judgment, dismissing the claims and cross-claims asserted against her.

Speak to an Experienced Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney

Generally, when a car crash occurs, it is due to negligent driving, and people that recklessly cause collisions should be held responsible for any injuries that ensue. If you were hurt in a car accident, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and gather any evidence that will support your pursuit of damages. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a meeting.

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