While negligent driving is the root cause of most car accidents, more than one driver may be held accountable. As such, a plaintiff seeking damages for the harm caused by a collision may name more than one person as a defendant. Additionally, as demonstrated in a recent New York case, a defendant can join other parties as defendants if they believe they contributed to the crash. If you were hurt in a collision, you might be able to recover damages from multiple sources, and you should consult a Syracuse personal injury attorney about your rights.
The Procedural and Factual Background
Allegedly, the plaintiff and three other drivers were involved in a collision. The facts of the accident are convoluted; in any event, the first vehicle, which was operated by the male defendant and owned by the defendant town, was traveling south on a highway behind the second car, which was owned by a female and driven by her husband. In front of that vehicle was the third vehicle, a truck owned by a delivery service and operated by one of its employees. The delivery vehicle pulled over, after which the second car struck it. The first vehicle then struck the second before veering into traffic and striking the plaintiff.
It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendants, after which the defendants joined the drivers and owners of the second and third vehicles as third-party defendants. The third-party defendants filed motions for summary judgment, which the court granted, and the defendants appealed.
Establishing Fault in Multi-Vehicle Accidents
Under New York law, motions for summary judgment must be viewed in a light that is most favorable to the non-moving party. Additionally, as there can be more than one cause of an accident, if a defendant does not establish as a matter of law that they were not at fault, summary judgment should not be granted in their favor.
In the subject case, the third-party defendants failed to show, prima facie, that they were not responsible for the collision between the defendants and the plaintiff, as deposition testimony indicated the third-party defendants may have driven recklessly and offered differing accounts as to how the accident occurred. As such, the court found that the third-party defendants failed to demonstrate, prima facie, that they were entitled to judgment in their favor as a matter of law. Therefore, the court reversed the trial court ruling.
Talk to an Assertive Syracuse Personal Injury Attorney
It is not uncommon for numerous factors to combine to cause a collision, and if multiple drivers are at fault for an accident, they may all be deemed accountable. If you were injured in a car crash, you should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. The assertive Syracuse personal injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers are proficient at helping parties injured in collisions recover damages, and if you hire us, we will advocate zealously on your behalf. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 833-247-8427 to set up a conference.