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New York Court Discusses Proximate Cause in Car Accident Cases

In most Syracuse personal injury cases, the plaintiff will allege that the defendant acted negligently. Merely proving negligence is not sufficient to demonstrate liability, though. Instead, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s negligence proximately caused their harm, and if they do not, their claims may fail. This was demonstrated in a recent ruling issued by a New York court in a car accident case. If you were injured in a collision, it is smart to speak to a Syracuse personal injury lawyer to determine what evidence you must produce to recover damages.

The Plaintiff’s Accident and Allegations

It is reported that the plaintiff was riding his bicycle when he struck the side of the defendant’s bus. He sustained harm in the accident and subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant and the driver employed by the defendant. The case proceeded to trial, after which the jury determined that the defendants were negligent, but their negligence was not a significant factor in bringing about the accident. The plaintiff then filed a motion to set aside the jury’s verdict and for a judgment as a matter of law, or alternatively for a new trial. The trial court denied the motion, and the plaintiff appealed.

Establishing Proximate Cause

The appellate court ultimately denied the plaintiff’s appeal. It noted that the plaintiff failed to object to the verdict as inconsistent with the evidence prior to when the jury was discharged, and therefore waived his right to object on that basis. The appellate court elaborated that, regardless, the jury’s assessment that the defendants acted negligently but their negligence did not cause the collision was not against the weight of the evidence.

The appellate court explained that a jury’s verdict should not be vacated as contrary to the weight of the evidence unless no reasonable interpretation of the evidence could have allowed the jury to reach the verdict. A jury’s determination that a party was negligent, but their negligence did not proximately cause an accident is against the weight of the evidence and inconsistent only when the issues are so deeply interwoven that it is logically impossible to find negligence but not proximate cause.

In the subject case, the appellate court stated that a reasonable interpretation of the evidence supported the determination that the plaintiff negligently operated his bicycle and that his negligence and not that of the defendants proximately caused the accident. Thus, the appellate court affirmed the trial court ruling.

Consult an Assertive Syracuse Personal Injury Lawyer

Car accidents often cause critical injuries, but if a plaintiff in a car crash case cannot show the collision was the result of negligence, they will be denied damages. If you sustained damages in a collision, you should consult an attorney to discuss your potential claims. The assertive Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers can advise you of your rights and aid you in pursuing the best legal result available under the facts of your case. You can contact us via our online form or by calling us at 833-200-2000 to set up a conference.

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